Monday, December 18, 2006
Was Paul Gay?
Beliefnet.com, a world-renowned Web site, has an article by Bishop John Shelby Spong. First, the passage from the New Testament and Paul's lip and then Spong's thoughts:
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.Howling Latina decided to write about the subject of Paul's sexuality because during worship service yesterday, she mistakenly ended up at the wrong church, next door to the one she normally attends. And when the pastor briefly mentioned Paul's affliction during his sermon, for whatever reason, a thought popped in her mind, "Paul was gay."
As a follow-up to her discovery and quite naturally, she googled Paul + gay + thorn, and voila, an article by Bishop John Shelby Spong appeared before her eyes. The good bishop came to the same conclusion as HL.
Spong writes in quoting Paul:
"You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first; and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus" (Gal. 4:13). The word angel can also be translated messenger. Paul is the possessor of a condition that he believes to be incurable. It is a condition for which people might scorn or despise him. I have heard and read of commentators who suggested that this physical condition was some kind of chronic eye problem. This is based, I suspect, on Paul's words to the Galatians that they would have "plucked out their eyes and given them" to Paul (Gal. 4:15). But chronic eye problems do not normally bring scorn or the activity of despairing, and through the eye, which Paul called "the window of the body," life and beauty as well as death and pain enter the human experience. Paul, in these words to the Galatians, told them that he had now "become as they are," one in whom "Christ has been formed," and assured them that they "did him no wrong" (Gal. 4:12, 19). That refers to an inner healing not an external healing.
In an interview with the Atlanta Constitution more than 10 years ago, Spong is also quoted as saying:
Yes, it makes perfect sense that Jesus would choose a man like Paul to be one of his disciples; it's people who are subjogated by the Pharisee-like masses and their "laws" that need a counselor, intercessor and advocate the most.
With Paul, you start out with the data that he's an unmarried man. That was very unusual in Jewish society. He has a very negative attitude toward women. He talks about a war that goes on in himself between what his mind wills and what his body wills. He talks about having a thorn in the flesh that keeps him from achieving the kind of peace and goal that he hopes to achieve. And then you read Paul and get this terrible internal struggle . . . the words of self-loathing, 'Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?' You recognize that as a faithful Jew in the first century, he took seriously the Torah and the Torah said that homosexuality was vile and depraved and worthy of death. Then the fantastic thing that comes through Paul is the realization that Paul is loved just as he is . . . because, you see, what Christ means to me is that there's nothing you can be, and nothing you can do that will ultimately separate you from the love of God.
I'm a writer for your county newspaper, and I'm doing a piece on blogging - I'd love to interview you by email. How can I make contact?
First off, Spong is a lunatic. He doesn't take anything God says literally when it comes to any prohibition on sexual perversion.
And... as Spong said "there was nothing you can be, and nothing you can do that will ultimately separate you from the love of God.", was true then there would not be a Hell to send anyone to, nu?
Is this the way you have to write in order to keep people coming back? Why don't you right about all the innocents being killed by Muslims instead of trying to make men like Paul a poster boy for the typical confused Gay man struggling to twart all the homophobic attacks by the right wing Christians?
Is this how low blogging has sunk?
Grow up people it would not change the gospel or its power.