Recently our world has witnessed a travesty, and a complete failure of humanity in the form of the refugee crisis. Sadly, the events of these past weeks have revealed much about our world and how we value life. People have been persecuted, left without homes, lives destroyed in a blink of an eye. But their cries for help has been received with mixed reactions the most startling of which come from Christians. Those who are supposed to stand up for the weak and champion the cause of the broken. Those who carry the name of Christ and are supposed to be like Him. But some of these very same people are shouting with a very clear message: “Keep the refugees away”. To these Christians I offer this video.
In a GOP event, Kevin Swanson proposed we ought to receive a view of the Bible that calls for the death of homosexuals. This “Christian” pastor clearly does not understand what the sacrifice of Christ is all about and his hateful rhetoric needs to be denounced. I’m not a political person (as you guys probably know by now), but a person does not have to be political to stand up against hate. It’s time that the church starts speaking against these false teachers. It’s long past due. Feel free to check out my video entitled “Death To The Gays: Kevin Swanson and a sick proposal“
It is finally here!
The day when I have finally decided to step out and do something that for the most part freaks me out and yet completely excites me.
I have started my own YouTube channel!
Though currently small, my goal is to grow it to 500 subscribers by the end of this month. Feels like a daunting task but I’m confident it can be done.
So what is this channel all about? Similar to what this blog has been all about really, recording struggles and successes as honestly as possible. I want to offer the world (or whoever subscribes) a perspective that is a bit rare in my opinion and seldom presented in a loving manner. I want to tell the world how it is for a gay Christian.
But that’s not the end of the story.
I am my Father’s child, and I am much more than just religious dogma or a sexual orientation. I have other interests and passions that make me who I am, that make me extremely valuable. I think that’s the point of my new Vlog/YouTube channel. To have an open window into the life of a gay Christian while at the same time showing that there’s more to life, to a person, to me, than gay Christianity.
Through this channel I want an open dialogue with the Church, to hopefully give them a view of the heart and struggles of someone like me. I also want this to be an open dialogue with the gay community so that they too can see the struggles of someone like me. Because in the battle of discrimination between religious groups and homosexuals, few are discriminated more than those who profess to belong to both.
SO, I ask you, my blogging friends, would you consider joining me on YouTube? Would you consider helping me spread the word or at least consider joining my channel and being part of a community that will hopefully be an awesome source for good?
I hope you consider doing so. I know it would make me extremely happy!
On a related note, I will start blogging again. But I am considering moving platforms from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. I feel it enables to be more flexible with what I can and cannot do (attach videos to blog posts for example).
However, I won’t be blogging as frequent as I used to (maybe once a week) but I will be blogging more than I have been.
With that said, I want to say thank you. Blogging was a necessary form of expression for me at a time when I was learning and evaluating a lot of things. This blog and your comments and interactions have been a huge source of comfort for me, much more than I could readily describe.
So thank you my blogging friends.
Onward to what’s next. Onward we go.
Ps: Click here to check out the YouTube Channel.
It has been my experience that most employers want an employee with a strong desire to perform their job rather than a strong set of skills. Don’t get me wrong, skills are needed and are important. However, when you are considering hiring one out of two employees; one has weaker skills but an obvious predisposition for learning, being a team player, and having a drive to excel (soft skills); while the other excels in the skill department but tends to lack the soft skills of the latter; most will choose the employee lacking in skills.
It’s always easier to teach technical skills (writing, calculating, designing) than to teach soft skills (communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork). In the world it seems like the heart (soft skills) is more desirable than the knowledge (hard skills).
It’s a lesson that anyone who is seeking a job would do well to keep in mind but it’s also a lesson that needs to be learned by many Christians.
What do I mean?
In 1 Corinthians 13 we come across what is known as the love chapter. In it, scripture tells us that love is above most things (if not all things). “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong… if I have the gift of prophecy…all mysteries…all knowledge…faith that can move mountains…but do not have love, I am nothing” Clearly, scripture values love more than the abilities that many may or may not possess.
Why is this important?
I have come across many Christians who lose sight of the fact that love is indeed above all…even theology. DO NOT MISREAD THIS. I am not saying theology is not important. But when Christians do actions that do not show towards another group of people because this other group of people somehow does not adhere to their theological beliefs, it’s unbiblical. There is no justification for not loving, period.
Why do so many Christians devote so much of their time to acquiring knowledge and fine tuning their theology and yet spend so little time reaching out to people who need to be loved. To me, this is not the gospel.
Churches have split because of theology. People have been persecuted. I feel like those who are the loudest at proclaiming the theological inaccuracies of movies, songs and books are seldom heard proclaiming their love for their fellow man. Those that are vocal about creating laws that prohibit what another group of people can and can’t do are seldom seen ministering to broken bodies, broken spirits, and broken hearts.
When did we get this simple truth backwards?
Will a day come when those who hide under the banner of Christ finally start acting like him?
The world has turned it’s heel against Christ and I can’t say that Christians are not to blame. As a body we need to step back and re-evaluate our goals and our mission. Christ does the redeeming, Christ does the outreach (If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me), but what he can’t do (and what we must do) is hug someone, care for someone, minister to someone.
He loves us.
He loves them.
And we are to be that window through which those who are searching can finally see.
“Christ equips the called”, I hear this often. Nevertheless what I don’t see often is it being practiced. If we are so convinced that Christ will “equip” those whom He calls, why are we so worried about what those who don’t yet belong to Him do. How can they do anything else when they have not been “equipped”. That’s like an employer yelling at an employee who does not work for his company!
In the same way companies tend to value soft skills more than hard skills (or at least give it about equal value), so we should value soft skills (Love). Skills are nothing if they are not backed by a strong desire to put them into action, so is theology nothing if it’s not backed by love.
Remember, “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up” – I Corinthians 8:1.
Don’t forsake theology, but choose love and make love the definition of anything and everything you do.
(PS. As I write this, I realize this is something I too must take to heart).
I decided to run naked today. Sadly, it wasn’t a pretty sight.
No I wasn’t naked in the literal sense, more of the emotional sense.
It’s the end of summer, school is about to start in about two weeks and people are graduating. That’s the problem with a college town…people graduate.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for the fact that young, eager lads and lasses pick up their mantle of completion as they dare to spread their wings and fly in the face of an uncertain world. Until, of course that flying takes them far away from new friendships or ones that have had the opportunity to develop over time.
Today I ran naked, but not because I took my clothes off and decided to grace my small town with a free showing to the “please-put-your-clothes-back-on” hour. No, I ran naked because one of my best friends graduated. And as happy as I am for him, I can’t help but to feel a selfishness creep up in me.
I already miss him.
We met when he and I took an acting class during college. Back then I was studying to finish my architecture degree while he was studying to conquer the discipline of …. Hmmm, come to think of it…what was he studying…
It was friendship at first sight.
We somehow ended up going to the same University. The plan was for us to graduate together. But he beat me to the finish line…
I didn’t realize how much I’d miss him
See that’s the problem with small towns like Gainesville. You develop strong relationships only to lose them to the inevitable destiny of graduation. Few stay behind.
I know that our friendship transcends land and sea and whatever else dares create distance between him and I but… proximity has its virtues…and I happen to like them.
I ran naked today because today was one of those rare moments, where my heart had to hide but couldn’t. With every box stored, and every furniture loaded I found myself dreading the incoming goodbye. As I sat on the clothed chair next to the transparent table all I could think about was how to say goodbye.
It’s what I thought about when we had lunch.
It’s what I thought about as I got out of the car desperately trying not to cry as my hands waved goodbye….I didn’t. I was proud of myself.
That is of course until I reached my apartment…Phew, good thing there are no cameras up in here.
I am exceedingly proud of my friend. As he walked across that stage when they called out his name, I could not scream loud enough. I am honored to know him.
And now, I am left with this thought: I may have run naked today. But I know I won’t run alone, No matter how far you go. I won’t run alone…and neither will you.
Warning: Before you read this poem know that it has some strong language. However, I think the language was necessary to convey the overall meaning.
Silent I sit as the world passes by
Silence. You Jerk! You can piss off and die
I’ve harbored your mess and believed all the lies
You bastard! I’m done. And don’t think I will cry
Silent I stand as my mind stirs and flies
Silence. You ass! Would you leave? Do you mind?
I’m trying to think, and I’m trying to pry
You’re loud. I’m done and breaking all ties
Silent I watch the sun set the skies
Silence. You’re done and don’t dare ask me why
You see all this mess yet you think I will find
You whore! You’ve bed me for the very last time
Silent I sit as silence is mine
Silence now waits as his arms reaches mine
His grip is so firm. My soul can’t deny
Silent I lay in a silent goodbye
If it mattered it would be unfair
To unveil the winds and tie what’s there
Grasping what’s disguised as air
Lamenting and running bare
If there was worth it could be unjust
Erect a wall in swamps of dust
But loneliness a grasp of must
And games to spin yet not to cusp
If there was truth it could be wrong
In silence sing a distant song
Confused to where and why belong
And never find a truthful bond
If it was so it might be harsh
A glimpse of hope to drown and parch
Where beauty reigned reveal the farce
Resign the dance and halt the march
If it was true I might just dare
To run with gold but show no care
And spin a top a dark world’s stare
Yet burn with all that once was fair
Juan Castillo Jr.
Before I begin this post, I want to inform you that my intent is NOT to convince you of anything (say what?), yes that’s right. I am not under some delusion as to my literary prowess’ ability to convince anyone of anything. Nevertheless, what I do hope happens is that genuine curiosity takes hold. I pray that this information gives you a spring board from which you, the concerned reader, will do further research.
There is a reason why scripture instructs us to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” – 2 Tim 2:15. And as I write this I finally have no shame of who I am, for I have divided and been dividing God’s word on this issue and finally see the truth. So let’s begin, because I am completely excited to share with you truth. A truth that I hope will set you free to love yourself, and to love others who long for such affection.
Now there are 7 places in scripture that refer to homosexual acts
- 2 refer to rape (Genesis 19:1-11, Judges 19:22)
- 1 refers to prostitution and pederasty (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
- 4 are nonspecific (Leviticus 18:21-22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:8-10)
I will begin by sharing some truths concerning these passages and this week I’ll start in Genesis 19 and to some extent, judges 19:22.
In Genesis we find an interesting story to say the least (Genesis 19:1-11). You can read this on your own, but I will give you a paraphrase of the story. Lot, Abraham’s nephew is staying in sodom when he is visited by angels whom Lot treats as guests. However, men from the city come to Lots house, demanding that he give over the guests so that they (the men in Sodom) may “know” or have sex with them. Lot refuses to hand the angels over because they are his guests.
A similar story can be found in judges 19:16-30.
Some claim that this is a clear representation of the homosexual sin of Sodom. And to be fair, the men of the town did want to have sex with the male guests. A cursory reading could give you the impression that this story is truly about homosexuality and that the outcome of Sodom was a direct result of such action. However, most scholars agree that the issue in this story is not homosexuality but rather that hospitality and justice were not being practiced. The blatant proof of this is found in Ezekiel 16:49 where it states “Now this is 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.” – Ez 16:49. It’s important to highlight that nowhere in this passage is the sin of homosexuality mentioned or even alluded to. Rather; arrogance, gluttony (overfed), apathy (unconcerned), discrimination against the poor and needy, pride (which we all know how much God hates) and detestable things. If homosexuality was the real issue here, it would have been stated plainly. But as it stands, it’s no where to be found in the passage that clearly outlines why God destroyed Sodom.
But wait, in Jude 1:7 we read “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion…” Indeed we do read this. However, in spite of the fact that some will argue that this is a clear reference to homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah, scholars contest this claim. This verse talks about sexual perversion as a whole and in biblical times, there were many forms of sexual perversions. It’s irresponsible to tack on homosexuality to a verse that does not specifically refer to it. And to be clear, rape (which is what would have transpired in Sodom if the town men would have gotten a hold of the angels) is just as perverse and immoral (if not more) as sex outside of marriage, or prostitution, or temple sex worship, etc.
So what exactly is going on?
When you look at the context of the jewish custom of hospitality you get a better account as to what exactly is going on in this Genesis story.
In ancient Israel, hospitality was a moral institution which grew out of the harsh desert and nomadic existence led by the people of Israel. It’s difficult for us to picture this but the Jews took hospitality seriously…very seriously. Biblical law specifically sanctified hospitality toward the stranger “for you were strangers in a strange land” (Lev. 19:34 and see Ex. 12:49), moreover, foreign travelers, although not protected by the law (Deut. 15:3; 23:21), could count on the Jewish custom of hospitality.
We see this hospitality taking place in many places throughout the old testament, for example: Abraham and the three men of Mamre, (Gen 18). In Gen. 24:28-32 we see Laban eager to welcome Abraham’s servant while Rebekah tended the camels. In Judges 13:15, Manoah di not allow the angel to depart before partaking in hospitably. But perhaps the most extreme case of this hospitality is found judges 19:16-30 where we find the old man of Gibeah, prepared to sacrifice the honor of his daughters in order to protect his guests (who were to him complete strangers). Does the account of judges 19:16-30 sound familiar? It should, because it’s the same scenario happening in Genesis 19:1-11. Which points to the fact that there is more going on in this Genesis account than just male to male sexual actions. The issue in Genesis 19 is one of injustice, inhospitably, rape, and a particular outrageous disrespectful affront not only to Lot’s guests but also to his culture and his beliefs.
I hope this gives you something to chew on. Again, feel free to disagree or agree, but ultimately search for yourselves. And tune in next week for a discussion on 1 corinthians 6:9-10.
According to a study conducted by the Williams Institute of Law at UCLA, 3.5% of the adult population in the United States is comprised of Lesbian, gay, or bisexual people. In other words, about 9 million Americans identify as LGBT.
Nevertheless, within the nucleus of these people there is a major discord when it comes to religion. In fact, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 48% of LGBT members surveyed stated that they had no religion (this is more than double the percentage of the general public that says the same thing).
On the flip side, 51% of those surveyed stated that they did have religion with 17% claiming religion to be “very important” in their lives. This would be encouraging news for the exception that a third of those who said they were religious also claimed that there was “a conflict between their religious beliefs and their sexual orientation or gender identity.” Of course, this is really not all that surprising since the majority of the general public (74 % white evangelical protestants and 55 % of all U.S. adults with a religious affiliation) believe that “homosexuality conflicts with their religious beliefs”.
So why is this important?
Why does this matter?
For someone who is straight, this may not seem all that important. It’s difficult to pay attention to the sinful or otherwise strange behavior of a group of people who seem to only identify themselves via their sexual orientation. For someone who is straight, it may seem like a trivial thing for a group of people to be demonized, ostracized, or otherwise debased in the face of humanity while they stubbornly hold on to their erroneous view of a sexually charged lifestyle.
But for those who grow up without a choice in the matter it’s a completely different story. Those who in the early years of their lives find themselves attracted to the same sex will face discriminations, abuse, alienation, shame, and ridicule for the rest of their lives. Sadly, this is a fate that will not change for them as readily as a simple action of “repentance” or “sanctification”. No, these people are born into something they will forever struggle with (even those who claim to be “ex-gays”). For this group of people, a life of pain, stress, unfulfillment, and utter confusion is what awaits them. A life, that lead many to the ultimate cry: Self extermination. In fact, numerous studies show that the suicide rate amongst LGBT members is considerably higher when compared to the rest of the population. According to the U.S. government report entitled “Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide” found that LGBT youths are four times more likely to attempt suicide.
It’s obvious that a large group of people are hurting and hurting badly. Nevertheless, the group that claims to have the answer, the hope, the way, or whatever else religious people claim to have, are the very ones that are causing the hurt to begin with. I know because I have been both the victim and the victimizer in this scenario. For 18 years I have had a “conflict of religion” with homosexuality. A struggle with something that I had been aware of since the age of 7. I came to know bible versus and prayers designed to help me deal with my struggle and before I even fully realized, I had associated something I could not change with something God wanted to change. Within my 18 years of faith so far I have been zealous for God and angry at God; loving life and, sadly, hating life (to the point where I too considered ending it).
This is a question i’ve asked myself many times. Why? Why me? What did I do? I didn’t ask for this, and quite frankly who would? But at the end of the day, here I am. I have not changed, and as I grow older the foolishness of attempting such change is overwhelmingly obvious, especially after this year.
And so, here I am. It’s time to get a few things straight with you people out there who keep claiming that homosexuality is a sin. Over the course of these few posts, I will share with you what has changed in the way I see homosexuality in the bible and why it’s so crucial for me to share it with you.
This isn’t about justifying my “sinful” lifestyle (though I know some of you will think so). This is about giving hope to those who have none. This is about revealing beauty where the church only sees death. This is about the truth setting you free, as opposed to binding you with the yolk of religiosity.
Won’t you come and take this journey with me? I want you to know what I know, and I want you to share it with those who are seeking God but feel as if God hates them. He doesn’t.
So tune in next week, as I start the discussion of “What does the Bible REALLY say about homosexuality”.