Just Because He Breathes

Just Because He Breathes
June 1, 2009 – 2nd Day of 17 Days in Harborview

On the night of November 20, 2001, a conversation held over Instant Messenger changed our lives forever. Our twelve-year-old son messaged me in my office from the computer in his bedroom.

Ryan says: can i tell u something
Mom says: Yes I am listening
Ryan says: well i don’t know how to say this really but, well……, i can’t keep lying to you about myself. I have been hiding this for too long and i sorta have to tell u now. By now u probably have an idea of what i am about to say.
Ryan says: I am gay
Ryan says: i can’t believe i just told you
Mom says: Are you joking?
Ryan says: no
Ryan says: i thought you would understand because of uncle don
Mom says: of course I would
Mom says: but what makes you think you are?
Ryan says: i know i am
Ryan says: i don’t like hannah
Ryan says: it’s just a cover-up
Mom says: but that doesn’t make you gay…
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: but u don’t understand
Ryan says: i am gay
Mom says: tell me more
Ryan says: it’s just the way i am and it’s something i know
Ryan says: u r not a lesbian and u know that. it is the same thing
Mom says: what do you mean?
Ryan says: i am just gay
Ryan says: i am that
Mom says: I love you no matter what
Ryan says: i am white not black
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: i am a boy not a girl
Ryan says: i am attracted to boys not girls
Ryan says: u know that about yourself and i know this
Mom says: what about what God thinks about acting on these desires?
Ryan says: i know
Mom says: thank you for telling me
Ryan says: and i am very confused about that right now
Mom says: I love you more for being honest
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: thanx

We were completely shocked. Not that we didn’t know and love gay people – my only brother had come out to us several years before, and we adored him. But Ryan? He was unafraid of anything, tough as nails, and ALL boy. We had not seen this coming, and the emotion that overwhelmed us, kept us awake at night and, sadly, influenced all of our reactions over the next six years, was FEAR.

We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible – the Word of God – should say:

We love you. We will ALWAYS love you. And this is hard. REALLY hard. But we know what God says about this, and so you are going to have to make some really difficult choices.

We love you. We couldn’t love you more. But there are other men who have faced this same struggle, and God has worked in them to change their desires. We’ll get you their books…you can listen to their testimonies. And we will trust God with this.

We love you. We are so glad you are our son. But you are young, and your sexual orientation is still developing. The feelings you’ve had for other guys don’t make you gay. So please don’t tell anyone that you ARE gay. You don’t know who you are yet. Your identity is not that you are gay – it is that you are a child of God.

We love you. Nothing will change that. But if you are going to follow Jesus, holiness is your only option. You are going to have to choose to follow Jesus, no matter what. And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is NOT an option.

We thought we understood the magnitude of the sacrifice that we – and God – were asking for. And this sacrifice, we knew, would lead to the abundant life, perfect peace and eternal rewards, even if it was incredibly difficult.

Ryan had always felt intensely drawn to spiritual things; He desired to please God above all else. So, for the first six years, he tried to choose Jesus. Like so many others before him, he pleaded with God to help him be attracted to girls. He memorized Scripture, met with his youth pastor weekly and went to all the youth group events and Bible Studies. He chose to get baptized and filled journals with his prayers. He read all the Christian books that explained where his gay feelings came from and dove into counseling to further discover the origin of his unwanted attraction to other guys. He worked through difficult conflict resolution with Rob and I and invested even more deeply in his friendships with other guys (straight guys) just like the reparative therapy experts advised.

But nothing changed. God didn’t answer Ryan’s prayers – or ours – though we were all believing with faith that the God of the Universe – the God for whom NOTHING is impossible – could easily make Ryan straight. But He did not.

Though our hearts may have been good (we truly thought what we were doing was loving), we did not even give Ryan a chance to wrestle with God, to figure out what HE believed God was telling him through scripture about his sexuality. We had believed firmly in giving each of our four children the space to question Christianity, to decide for themselves if they wanted to follow Jesus, to truly OWN their own faith. But we were too afraid to give Ryan that room when it came to his sexuality, for fear that he’d make the wrong choice.

Basically, we told our son that he had to choose between Jesus and his sexuality. We forced him to make a choice between God and being a sexual person. Choosing God, practically, meant living a lifetime condemned to being alone. As a teenager, he had to accept that he would never have the chance to fall in love, hold hands, have his first kiss or share the intimacy and companionship that we, as his parents, enjoy. We had always told our kids that marriage was God’s greatest earthly gift…but Ryan had to accept that he alone would not be offered that present.

And so, just before his 18th birthday, Ryan, depressed, suicidal, disillusioned and convinced that he would never be able to be loved by God, made a new choice. He decided to throw out his Bible and his faith at the same time, and to try searching for what he desperately wanted – peace – another way. And the way he chose to try first was drugs.

We had – unintentionally – taught Ryan to hate his sexuality. And since sexuality cannot be separated from the self, we had taught Ryan to hate himself. So as he began to use drugs, he did so with a recklessness and a lack of caution for his own safety that was alarming to everyone who knew him.

Suddenly our fear of Ryan someday having a boyfriend (a possibility that honestly terrified me) seemed trivial in contrast to our fear of Ryan’s death, especially in light of his recent rejection of Christianity, and his mounting anger at God.

Ryan started with weed and beer…but in six short months was using cocaine and heroin. He was hooked from the beginning, and his self-loathing and rage at God only fueled his addiction. Shortly after, we lost contact with him. For the next year and a half we didn’t know where he was, or even if he was dead or alive. And during that horrific time, God had our full attention. We stopped praying for Ryan to become straight. We started praying for him to know that God loved him. We stopped praying for him never to have a boyfriend. We started praying that someday we might actually get to know his boyfriend. We even stopped praying for him to come home to us; we only wanted him to come home to God.

By the time our son called us, after 18 long months of silence, God had completely changed our perspective. Because Ryan had done some pretty terrible things while using drugs, the first thing he asked me was this:

Do you think you can ever forgive me? (I told him of course, he was already forgiven. He had ALWAYS been forgiven.)

Do you think you could ever love me again? (I told him that we had never stopped loving him, not for one second. We loved him then more than we had ever loved him.)

Do you think you could ever love me with a boyfriend? (Crying, I told him that we could love him with fifteen boyfriends. We just wanted him back in our lives. We just wanted to have a relationship with him again…AND with his boyfriend.)

And a new journey was begun. One of healing, restoration, open communication and grace. LOTS of grace. And God was present every step of the way, leading and guiding us, gently reminding us simply to love our son, and leave the rest up to Him.

Over the next ten months, we learned to truly love our son. Period. No buts. No conditions. Just because he breathes. We learned to love whoever our son loved. And it was easy. What I had been so afraid of became a blessing. The journey wasn’t without mistakes, but we had grace for each other, and the language of apology and forgiveness became a natural part of our relationship. As our son pursued recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, we pursued him. God taught us how to love him, to rejoice over him, to be proud of the man he was becoming. We were all healing…and most importantly, Ryan began to think that if WE could forgive him and love him, then maybe God could, too.

And then Ryan made the classic mistake of a recovering addict…he got back together with his old friends…his using friends. And one evening that was supposed to simply be a night at the movies turned out to be the first time he had shot up in ten months…and the last time. We got a phone call from a social worker at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle asking us to come identify our son – that he had arrived there in a coma, in critical condition. We spent 17 days at Harborview, during which time our whole family was able to surround and love on Ryan. We experienced miracle after miracle during that time, things that no doctor had any medical explanation for. God’s presence was TANGIBLE in Ryan’s room. But that is a long, sacred story that I’ll have to tell another time.

Though Ryan had suffered such severe brain damage that he had almost complete paralysis, the doctors told us that he could very well outlive us. But, unexpectedly, Ryan died on July 16, 2009. And we lost the ability to love our gay son…because we no longer had a gay son. What we had wished for…prayed for…hoped for…that we would NOT have a gay son, came true. But not at all in the way we used to envision.

Now, when I think back on the fear that governed all my reactions during those first six years after Ryan told us he was gay, I cringe as I realize how foolish I was. I was afraid of all the wrong things. And I grieve, not only for my oldest son, who I will miss every day for the rest of my life, but for the mistakes I made. I grieve for what could have been, had we been walking by FAITH instead of by FEAR. Now, whenever Rob and I join our gay friends for an evening, I think about how much I would love to be visiting with Ryan and his partner over dinner. But instead, we visit Ryan’s gravestone. We celebrate anniversaries: the would-have-been birthdays and the unforgettable day of his death. We wear orange – his color. We hoard memories: pictures, clothing he wore, handwritten notes, lists of things he loved, tokens of his passions, recollections of the funny songs he invented, his Curious George and baseball blankey, anything, really, that reminds us of our beautiful boy…for that is all we have left, and there will be no new memories.  We rejoice in our adult children, and in our growing family as they marry…but ache for the one of our “gang of four” who is missing. We mark life by the days BC (before coma) and AD (after death), because we are different people now; our life was irrevocably changed – in a million ways – by his death. We treasure friendships with others who “get it”…because they, too, have lost a child.

We weep. We seek Heaven for grace and mercy and redemption as we try – not to get better but to be better. And we pray that God can somehow use our story to help other parents learn to truly love their children. Just because they breathe.

Linda Robertson – Originally posted on FaceBook on January 14, 2013

Additional Notes:

If you’d like to listen to a much more extensive version of our story, it was filmed at Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw, GA in May 2022. There is also a recording of my presentation from NorthPoint Church in Atlanta from May 2021, which does not include everything from my more recent presentation, but does include a Q&A time that I’ve told has been helpful for many parents.

You can also view our story as presented as part of For They Know Not What They Do, available on Amazon & iTunes.

I am now working full-time (as a volunteer) working with parents of LGBTQ+ children whose children have just come out, or who are struggling to reconcile their faith with their love for their child. If you or someone you know has an LGBTQ child and needs support, I lead a weekly Parent Support Group that meets every Wednesday, and I’m also on the board of QChristian Fellowship, where I lead the Parent Team – we have all kinds of great resources (other Biblical resources can be found at The Reformation Project‘s website – I’m a big fan!)

I’ll be at a conference in Washington D.C. for LGBTQ people of faith (or from faith backgrounds) in early January 2023…if you are from the community, a family member, pastor, or ally, come join us there!

I’ve also got a conference coming up in Chicago May ’23 for parents and family of LGBTQ people – more details to come.

Much love to each person who has found their way here…


March 30, 2022

For resources, click here.

2,427 responses to “Just Because He Breathes”

  1. What a lot of totally unnecessary pain and suffering. Religion is truly terrifying. I’m so grateful for my atheism.

    • I agree completely.My amazing and beautiful 17 year old son came out to me 3 months ago and abhors the judgmental and intolerant stance of religion

      • In order for your son to abhor the supposed judgmental and intolerance of religion wouldn’t he have to be judgmental and intolerant. Guess he can’t see that like he can’t see what his parts are for. Repent for your eternities sake.

        • Joshua, I felt the love of Christ reading your post. “Know what his parts are for.” You are clearly a well educated, sophisticated man who is a walking vessel of God’s love. May everyone convert to fundamentalist Christianity before God gets ’em.

        • Why couldn’t Ryan just be gay and faithful, after all, the bible never actually states that gay acts should be prohibited, and it isn’t a choice. God would know that more then anyone. You cannot argue with science. Why must people be so bigoted just because someone is different? (/_*-*_/)

        • Joshua, did Jesus abhor the supposed judgmental and intolerance of religion? Of course – anyone reading their Bible can see that he had some strong words for the Pharisees, the religious establishment of that time and place. Did that make him judgmental and intolerant? On the contrary, I’d say that such abhorrence is desirable, wouldn’t you? Peace and grace to you. 🙂

    • It’s not impossible to be delivered from this sickness. It is NOT a sin to be tempted. It is a sin to indulge. That is where “good Christians” miss the boat on this issue. It is possible to stay celibate. It is terrible that people are born with birth defects, but DNA can be corrupted and that is a matter of fact. It is corrupted by many means, causes all kinds of physical and mental conditions. It was the original sin that brought this about. God understands temptation. But, He will not all us to be tempted above what we are able to bear, and will with the temptation make a way to escape. Thousands of people do, and do stay celibate.

      • Thank you, thank you, thank you! You speak truth, though many may try to silence you, shame you, or shout you down, know that there may be some who see through the darkness with the light you are shining on a very difficult and volatile topic. God bless you.

      • Jack –
        As a fellow Christian, used to believe as you do – everything in the Bible is God’s Word and that it should be applied without question. After all, His Word is unchanging, right? I used to believe this until my brother, whom I love very much, came out as gay and it completely turned our family’s belief system upside down. I love my brother so much that I opened myself up to a lot of research and consideration, and I’d like to share my perspective with you – one that is very similar to many on this blog.
        The holy scripture is much more complex than just saying “it’s in the Bible.” If that were true we would still require circumcision and we would still be bound by the law of Moses – we would still be worshipping on Saturdays, eating only what is kosher, offering animal sacrifices, and administering capital punishment for everything from working on the Sabbath to rebelliousness of children. Note that Jesus never explicitly taught that these portions of the Scripture were no longer binding upon his followers; this call was made by the apostles at the urging of Paul.
        Further if we consistently applied these same assumptions to what Paul teaches about women in the New Testament, females would pray with their heads covered; they would remain silent in the church; and they would not be permitted to teach in any church gathering where men are present.
        There are more than 200 verses in the Bible that allow slavery as an acceptable practice, even permitting the beating of slaves with rods. The Old and New Testament authors could not imagine a world without slavery. If we consistently held that everything in the Bible is God’s Word and that it is unchanging — we’d still support the practice of slavery today.
        While the words of Scripture don’t change. our interpretation DOES change over time. Interpretation is important here because when reading the Bible it’s obvious to me that while God speaks to us through the Bible, the Bible’s human authors wrote in particular historical circumstances, addressing specific situations, and in the light of their own historical and scientific knowledge. What they wrote was shaped by their own cultural and theological convictions.
        Regarding same gender acts, they wrote based upon their understanding of human sexuality, in the light of the prevailing same-gender practices of their time. Do Moses’ words commanding that men who lie with men should be put to death express the heart of God towards them? And though I do believe that they were inspired, the precise nature and extent of that inspiration remains a mystery. I don’t believe this inspiration was some kind of divine dictation, but rather through the impulse of the Spirit at work in very human authors who were addressing the people and circumstances in which they lived. This inspiration did not prevent historical or scientific errors. It did not prohibit the recording of differing accounts of the same story in the Gospels. It did not keep the Bible’s authors from allowing slavery and genocide; and it did not transform the biblical authors’ patriarchal perspectives on women.
        In my current church, there are many gay and lesbian parishioners and even more whose children are gay and lesbian. Some are married and some of these have children. Some are among the most committed members of our congregation. They attend worship every week, serve in mission, are in small groups, and witness to others about Jesus. They seek to love him with all their heart and to love their neighbors as they love themselves. I love these people as much as anyone else in the congregation. Most of the people I’ve talked to including my brother knew from a very young age they were “different.” They are drawn to love the same gender in the same way I was drawn to my husband. So, when Paul spoke of those who “gave themselves up to degrading passions” was he speaking of people like my brother or these couples in my church who love one another selflessly? Or was he speaking about temple prostitution, older men molesting younger boys, and sexual exploitation, as well as unrestrained sexual acts divorced from love and commitment, that were the common expressions of same-gender acts in his time and at times, in ours?
        Only God truly knows the answers so no matter what, we are all wrong. I have chosen to focus on 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” And I will leave it to God to do the judging. May God’s peace and love be with you, Jack.

      • Jack, your stance is the stance that drove Ryan to the grave. Dawn found great words, so I won’t add to that, but know what your stance is doing – it is asking something of fellow human beings that is extremely difficult, namely to repress their sexuality. Being celibate is very, very hard, it is a tremendous sacrifice.
        Couple this with the ideas planted as seeds into the persons head, and allowing the seed to grow, that they are as a human being less than their heterosexual fellow humans, makes the pressure on them that much worse. If you choose to be celibate, it should never be out of shame for who you are, but because you love God – see priests, monks and nuns.

  2. Miss Linda, Thank you for opening up your life and letting us see your pain, growth, and healing. I was truly touched, as the mother of 3 beautiful gay/bi/hetero children… Your loss was profound and I am deeply sorry for it. May the Gods bless your Ryan and the rest of your family, and grant you peace and joy on your new path. Brightest blessings.

  3. Religion can be dangerous to young people coming out of the closet because its intolerant stance toward same love can create problems in terns of self acceptance .Love is love

    • How elementary & uninformed our public discourse has become in modern culture. With respect, all too many in our culture have uncritically swallowed hook, line, and sinker this leftist mantra. Christianity’s stance on the propriety of homosexual behavior has nothing to do with “who one loves.” Indeed, Christianity admonishes Christians to love everyone. One question that should be grappled with is “what is love?”. Is it an act of love to encourage & affirm a loved one towards behavior for which there is overwhelming evidence of both physical & emotional damage? If that is love, then should love be trusted?
      A sincere Happy Easter to all as we navigate these waters of life together.

      • Overwhelming evidence of both physical & emotional damage? There is NO evidence of any kind of damage whatsoever from monogamous, committed same-sex marriages. Promiscuity of any kind can cause damage – that isn’t specific to gay promiscuity.

        • Characteristics of a “straw man argument”: The so-called typical “attacking a straw man” argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and then to refute or defeat that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the original proposition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
          Respectfully ma’am, my original proposition said nothing of monogamy versus promiscuity, or marriage. That said, even your straw man argument is false. There is overwhelming statistical evidence that within the homosexual population there are significantly higher risks of depression, substance abuse (drugs and alcohol), STDs (including HIV/Aids), suicide, shorter life span, various forms of cancer (in men), smoking, breast cancer (women), etc. The list of risk factors is long. To be fair, some of these risk factors would be mitigated with an exclusively (life-long) monogamous relationship. But not all of them. Some of the risk factors have nothing to do with a multiple partners versus monogamy dynamic. Again, to be fair, some have argued that the psychological risk factors (depression, substance abuse, suicide) are related to/a result of social stigma, and not homosexual-specific at all. But that argument would seem to fall on its face when there is no significant deviation of statistics in places like Denmark, where there is little-to-no social stigma.
          It give me zero pleasure to point these things out. There is no room for malice or hate in my broken heart, which is filled with sorrow & bewilderment. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand… but I’m trying to.

        • It is the damage that is done by unaccepting people that causes the problems. There is nothing innately damaging about being gay. Perhaps you should read Linda’s story again.

        • First and foremost, thank you to the amazing and brave Robertson family. Their story has touched me so deeply. My own brother faced challenges based on our southern baptist upbringing. I love my brother. He never chose to be gay. I’m so grateful that we can finally have conversations about God-about the teachings of Jesus. My brother now knows that he is unconditionally loved. I never even knew until he came out at age 40.
          Lastly- please, don’t come here to condescend or preach hate. We’ve all seen enough of that. This is a place for love and understanding. It’s not kind, not right, not cool to come here with the intent to tear people down. This should be a page for love, kindness and understanding. I’m sorry it just upsets me to see negative comments by someone who just wants to be right. Love and prayers to all.

        • Hi Linda:

          Do be careful, and do know I mean this in the kindest of ways, that you don’t over invest with Joshua. My grandmother had a wonderful expression, and I have had to remind myself of this sage advice many a time when I get into back-and-forth blog commenting: “Only idiots argue with morons.”

          Joshua is an Elmer Gantry; save your good efforts for those who need the help that your sad experience can give guidance. The one good result of Joshua’s comments is the exposure of just how much more work there is for men and women of goodwill demonstrating Jesus’ call to embrace all of one’s neighbors.

        • There is damage of this kind and to children who are adopted by gay couples. There are vast resources of that information of how it does affect kids. That has been ignored of course since our “thinkers of today” are spiritually blind.

      • Talk about elementary and uninformed, that describes you to a tee. Please Mike, cite this “overwhelming” evidence; or, rather, cite true pier reviewed scientific evidence that is not propaganda from the religious right fanatics. Hint: you can’t because it does not exist.

        Oh, and pointing to HIV/AIDS is a red herring. World-wide, heterosexuals vastly outnumber homosexuals in HIV/AIDS infections and deaths. Also, there is zero statistical correlation of HIV/AIDS infections for sexual conduct among lesbians. Further, many many more millions of North and South American natives died from syphilis and smallpox brought by Columbus/Europeans than the many HIV/AIDS deaths.

        And of emotional damage, each and every disenfranchised group in the history of civilization suffers emotional abuse from their bigoted abusers. Whether it was the slaves taken by force by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Huns, et al, to the Catholics against the Jews and Protestants, or the Protestants against Catholics, to European, American, Asian slavery campaigns, to the Indian caste system, to centuries of treating women as chattel, to Hiller’s campaign against the world, to Stalin/Lenin crushing the “stans”, to Apartheid, to the mass killings in Southeast Asia — every suppressed group suffers emotional damage at the hands of the suppressors. (Unfortunately, the are scores of other examples of men enslaving, murdering, stealing fellow men/women.)

        Thank God that the Robertsons, who once thought along your idiotic and dangerous lines have initiated their process to lift up from your type of ignorant suppression. While they missed the mark to bring Jesus into the light of their son, they are helping others not fall victim to the vile nonsense you espouse.

        Lastly, even your so-called “sincere Happy Easter” is hollow. Cite just one single verse where Jesus himself calls out same-sex sexuality or relationships as a sin. Just one. Oh, you can’t because not once does Jesus himself make that statement. He has a lot to say about adultery and divorce, but NOT A SINGLE WORD ABOUT MEN/MEN OR WOMEN/WOMEN. Graduate from that, elementary and uniformed Mike Miller.

        • Dear mikeinasheville,
          I am truly sorry to have angered you so. That was not my intent. I’ll try to answer your challenges one by one.
          First, you seem to doubt the existence of evidence of higher risk (both physical and emotional) inherent to homosexuality. You seem particularly skeptical of dubious sources, citing “religious right fanatics” as a particular concern. So, let’s simply disregard any sources that could be considered biased. Instead, let’s look at a source that most would concede are sympathetic to what I assume to be your worldview…the GLMA (Gay/Lesbian Medical Alliance). Now granted, this is not specific, peer reviewed research. But it is representative of the informed & educated opinion of medical professionals whose views on the propriety of homosexuality appear to align with yours. The link below confirms that even they say that gay men are at a statistically significant higher risk for HIV infection, hepatitis A,B, and C, bulimia, anorexia nervosa, all manner of substance & alcohol abuse, depression, anxiety, suicide, STDs, smoking (tobacco use), HPV, and anal cancer.
          I didn’t specifically point to HIV/Aids, but it is most certainly not a “red herring.” You are right, in that “world-wide, heterosexuals vastly outnumber homosexuals in HIV/AIDS infections and deaths.” But that is a meaningless distinction. Heterosexuals vastly outnumber homosexuals period. What’s important is the relative percentages, not the actual numbers. Also important is the relative ease of transmission. The percentage of HIV positives and deaths is much higher amongst MSM homosexuals than in either the general population, or heterosexuals. The relative ease of transmission is also a negative, in that it’s much easier to transmit HIV via anal sex as opposed to vaginal sex.
          You state: “…there is zero statistical correlation of HIV/AIDS infections for sexual conduct among lesbians.” I agree.
          You state: “Further, many many more millions of North and South American natives died from syphilis and smallpox brought by Columbus/Europeans than the many HIV/AIDS deaths.” Agreed. But what does that have to with anything we’re talking about?
          Then, you seem to hyperbolically imply that I’m somehow a “suppressor” akin to a Genghis Khan or Stalin. In what way have I attacked or “suppressed” (oppressed) anyone, sir?
          Lastly, you attack the sincerity of my holiday greeting. I’m sorry, Mike, if I offended you. I really am. That was not, and is not my intent.
          You state: “Cite just one single verse where Jesus himself calls out same-sex sexuality or relationships as a sin. Just one. Oh, you can’t because not once does Jesus himself make that statement.” Again, you are right. Jesus said nothing (of which I’m aware) specifically concerning homosexuality. I truly wished he had. I hate the divisive nature of this and other social dilemmas for which we don’t have definitive answers. There are many issues we wrestle with today that Jesus didn’t specifically address (abortion; cloning; when, why, and if to go to war; etc.). Jesus said nothing specifically concerning homosexuality, but Christianity (the teaching of Jesus) must be understood in context, comprehensively, and with a very large dose of both faith and humility. You seem to imply that only the specific words of Jesus should apply to Christian theology, and that all other biblical teaching is irrelevant. But Jesus himself DID address that fallacious argument in Matthew 5:17-19, which reads: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” (The “jot” and “tittle” are the smallest characters in the Hebrew alphabet.)
          I wish you well.

        • Why, oh why, are so many people so concerned about OTHER people’s sexuality? If it is against your religion, or if you personally feel it is immoral, then do not involve yourself in a same sex relationship – your problem has now been fixed! I find is beyond strange that so many so-called straight people (such as Mike Miller) can not STOP thinking about, bringing up, talking about, and concerning themselves with the sexuality of other people. Do you also concern yourself with what goes on in other straight couple’s bedrooms? I am a bisexual who is spiritual, but not religious (and thank you Mike Miller for reinforcing yet again why I am not religious), and this sad story about such a beautiful child (and beautiful family I’ve come to realize) moved me tremendously. In fact, I felt a spiritual connection to Ryan and his family after seeing a slideshow of Ryan and realizing that I could have easily been in meaningful relationship with him – he seemed like such a wonderful person and we shared many of the same interests. I wish Linda and her family the best as they continue to move forward with their lives.

          Please, please, worry about your own sexuality and your own sex life and stop contributing to the damage that your hate brings so many innocent people simply because you don’t agree with their lifestyle or their sexuality. I can tell you first hand, no one “chooses” to be gay or bisexual. Mike Miller, when did you choose to be straight? I am not religious at all, yet I don’t spend any time actively protesting against religious people, trying to convert them, or condemning them for their beliefs – they are not of my concern (only when they try cramming their beliefs down other people’s throats and/or people get hurt).

          Not everyone is religious, not everyone needs to believe what you believe. Not to mention that so many people who have been vigilantly anti-gay in the past, surprise, surprise, end up coming out later in life or it is unveiled that they have been secretly in a gay relationship. Being overly anti-gay and constantly lashing out about it is oftentimes really just a coping mechanism for repressed feelings. Please, please just “live and let live” – the world would be such a better place!

        • Kyle,
          Why, oh why, are so many people so concerned about OTHER people’s conversations? If the conversation conflicts with your views, or if you personally feel offended, then do not involve yourself in the conversation – your problem has now been fixed!
          Do you see how nonsensical your “butt-out” argument is? Now, to your question, Kyle.
          “Why, oh why, are so many people so concerned about OTHER people’s sexuality?”
          I cannot answer for “so many people”. I can only answer for myself. I am concerned because I love OTHER people, and what concerns them concerns me. Hate is not the opposite of love. It is callous indifference (lack of concern) that is the antithesis of love.

        • Mike Miller, You don’t anger me, you annoy me. Why you even comment here is a mystery to me, clearly, you hold onto dogmatic organized Christian religiosity. No one here is interested in “love the sinner, hate the sin” makes-bigots-feel-better-about-being-assholes bullcrap.

          Indeed gay men are at much higher risk factors for a vast variety of medical conditions. You, however, correlate that with men choosing to be gay. The correlation, though, is not with being gay, it is being subjected to anti-social acceptance for being born gay. Human behavior correlates with human condition; telling a young gay man (or woman) that they are sinners bound to an eternity in Hell is the cause of depression, which, in turn, is the cause of lack of personal care and risky behavior.

          Yes, you can play your own “straw argument” games by pointing out you didn’t mention HIV/AIDS in your original post, but, of course, you ignore how you left dangling the statement: “behavior for which there is overwhelming evidence of both physical & emotional damage”. Further, my point about zero correlation among HIV/AIDS and lesbians should be pretty obvious — if HIV/AIDS is the reason that man-man sex is immoral, or, if HIV/AIDS is God’s judgment for man-man sex, then explain why woman-woman sex does not have HIV/AIDS risk?

          My point about the millions of syphilis and smallpox deaths in the Americas is also pretty simple. Christianity only spread across the Americas due to massive killings by disease and murder caused by Christians steeling the lands of non-Christians. Oh, so Jesus worthy, the disease infliction and rape and murder of “savages.”

          And, I will maintain my point that Jesus himself never once condemns man/man or woman/woman sexuality and relationships. Nor, might I add did God Himself include homosexuality among the Ten Commandments. Yes, cite Matthew 5; I’ll respond read Galatians 3. And yes indeed, I believe that only followers of the Words of Jesus are true Christians; all others are followers of false prophets.

          You cannot call your self a Christian and not follow Jesus’ Commandments: Mark 12:30-31: [30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. [31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

          Got that Mike, NO OTHER COMMANDMENT GREATER THAT THESE. Gay kids simply want their American promise of their God-given rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, just as their heterosexual neighbors. If you hold for yourself life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, you are COMMANDED by Jesus to respect every homosexual’s rights too.

        • mikeinasheville,
          I’m truly sorry that I annoy you. The reason that I comment here is that I’m interested and I care. I too, have loved ones and friends that embrace a gay identity. I found this blog in my search for understanding. The way I seek understanding is probably very similar to you. I seek the perspective/opinions/experiences of others, and weigh them against what I believe and my own opinions/experiences. Sometimes others bring things to my attention that change my beliefs/opinions… sometimes not. Sometimes my confusion is deepened… so the search continues. But always the tragic & heartbreaking experiences of others deepens my compassion.
          You know, when I was a kid, I always assumed that the older I got, the simpler life would become; that it would become clearer what is right vs. what is wrong. But now that I’m an old man, I see that that was a false hope. The incoming questions have far outpaced the accumulated answers. I don’t have all the answers, Mike. But at least I’m searching, and with a humble heart.
          Once again, I’ll try to answer your challenges one by one.

          You state: “Indeed gay men are at much higher risk factors for a vast variety of medical conditions.”
          I’m glad that you agree with me.

          You state: “You, however, correlate that with men choosing to be gay.”
          Nonsense. I never said or implied that. Indeed, had you read all my posts, I’ve made it quite clear that I do not think that same-sex attraction is a choice.

          You state: “The correlation, though, is not with being gay, it is being subjected to anti-social acceptance for being born gay. Human behavior correlates with human condition; telling a young gay man (or woman) that they are sinners bound to an eternity in Hell is the cause of depression, which, in turn, is the cause of lack of personal care and risky behavior.”
          I’m not really sure, but I think you’re making the “social-stigma” argument here. Indeed, social stigmatization “can be a contributing factor” (correlation) to depression and/or destructive behavior in many forms. I certainly don’t deny that. But you attribute, presumably to me, things that I would never, never say or imply. I would never, never tell “a young gay man (or woman) that they are sinners bound to an eternity in Hell.” I would never say that to anyone concerning anything. As a matter of fact, in accordance with my understanding of scripture, I’m only aware of one unforgivable sin. That is for a Christian to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. (Christians held to a higher standard than non-believers.)

          You state: “…you left dangling the statement: ‘behavior for which there is overwhelming evidence of both physical & emotional damage’.”
          No, I didn’t, Mike. As you requested, I provided you with a link where gay & lesbian medical professionals corroborate that very statement. A statement that you yourself have agreed with.

          You state: “Further, my point about zero correlation among HIV/AIDS and lesbians should be pretty obvious — if HIV/AIDS is the reason that man-man sex is immoral, or, if HIV/AIDS is God’s judgment for man-man sex, then explain why woman-woman sex does not have HIV/AIDS risk?”
          I try to be very precise with my words so as to not be misunderstood. Yet once again, you attribute things to me that I’ve never said. I’ve never said that “HIV/AIDS is the reason that man-man sex is immoral”, or that “HIV/AIDS is God’s judgment for man-man sex.” Further, I believe both those assertions to be false. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

          You state: “My point about the millions of syphilis and smallpox deaths in the Americas is also pretty simple. Christianity only spread across the Americas due to massive killings by disease and murder caused by Christians steeling the lands of non-Christians. Oh, so Jesus worthy, the disease infliction and rape and murder of ‘savages.’”
          This would seem to be an attack on Christianity (or rather, Christians) in general. I’m willing to go there, but in doing so a distinction must be made between Catholicism and the various Protestant sects, all of whom dealt with native Americans differently. But generally speaking, your point is well taken. The native Americans were dealt with in a despicable manner in many instances. And their exposure to diseases from Europeans & Africans for which they had no immunity was devastating. But no one did that on purpose. But should you wish to hold Europeans accountable for their unintended influence, then consistency would demand reverse accountability as well. The influence of one thing from the native Americas has been far more devastating to Western culture, and indeed the world, killing more people than all of the diseases introduced to the Americas combined. The native Americans got their revenge. Have you ever heard of tobacco?

          You state: “And, I will maintain my point that Jesus himself never once condemns man/man or woman/woman sexuality and relationships. Nor, might I add did God Himself include homosexuality among the Ten Commandments. Yes, cite Matthew 5; I’ll respond read Galatians 3. And yes indeed, I believe that only followers of the Words of Jesus are true Christians; all others are followers of false prophets.”
          Do you realize that according to your own words, you just called yourself a follower of a false prophet? The words of Galatians are not of Jesus, but of Paul.

          You state: “You cannot call your self a Christian and not follow Jesus’ Commandments: Mark 12:30-31: [30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. [31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
          I got it, Mike. Thank you, and I could not agree with you more. I try very hard to follow these two Commandments. You’ll note that in all of my posts, not once have I personally attacked anyone… not even you. But let’s see, you’ve attacked me by calling me annoying, insincere, a bigot, an asshole, elementary, uninformed, idiotic, dangerous, ignorant, a suppressor, and an espouser of vile nonsense. Which of us needs greater reflection on Mark 12:31?

          You state: “Gay kids simply want their American promise of their God-given rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, just as their heterosexual neighbors. If you hold for yourself life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, you are COMMANDED by Jesus to respect every homosexual’s rights too.”
          Once again, you wrongly characterize all that I’ve said. I’ve never advocating taking anyone’s rights, much less gay kids’. As a matter of fact, show me where that’s happening in our country and I’ll be the first warrior in the trenches.

          I truly love and value the discussion & debate of issues that are important to all of us. But discussion ceases to be fruitful when it incessantly descends into ad hominem personal attacks, denial of self-evident truth, inaccurate inferences, and obfuscation through intentional mischaracterization. Additionally, this conversation has disintegrated so far from civil discussion as to be disrespectful to the Robertsons, and irreverent to the memory of their son. For the part I’ve played in that disintegration, I humbly apologize. While I cherish the opportunity for a genuine & respectful exchange of ideas & experience, I will no longer respond to personal attacks or position mischaracterization.
          I wish you well, Mike.

        • Yes divorce and adultery in the only marriage union He allowed. Male and female. Only the marriage bed of one male and one female is undefiled. Porneia spoken by Jesus describes sex outside of marriage as sin. Since no marriage for homosexuals offered then all is sin. Leviticus 18:22 male to male intercourse defiles the land and is so evil that God judged without the law to the point of death those that committed it. Read all of Leviticus 18. You are making up a marriage that Jesus didn’t allow. Very simple. He framed marriage and then said everything about that is sin. What about bisexuals? Their orientation is supposed to be from birth like homosexuals. Then to give them full equality and affirmation then don’t we have to allow them if they want to marry one of each sex. How could they be denied their born orientation and have to choose one to marry setting them up for failure by forcing celibacy onto them of one of their orientations. Just setting them up for failure and adultery because of bigotry and intolerance of their born orientation. And can you show me where Jesus said only two in a marriage? There is biblical evidence for plurality even if it is only men and women? If Jesus the creator is as dumb as your side says he is (matthew vines) and the creator of humans didn’t know about orientation then how could He have known about bisexual orientation and the need for plural marriage within bisexual orientation. Also while you are at it. You should relly study what the teaching of Jesus really says about good tree/good fruit bad tree/ bad fruit. He never says to judge someones reaction to the fruit but judge the fruit. As Matthew vines teaches it to mean how a person reacts to the fruit would make Jesus a bad tree with bad fruit when the rich young ruler walked away upset rejecting Christ, or when the crowd tried to throw Him over a cliff, or the Pharisees tried to stone him and eventually set Him up to be crucified or when Jesus said that eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood was required and hundreds walked away and then He turned to ask the disciples if they also wanted to leave. Paul also speaking to this in 2 Timothy 4:3. Paul describing good doctrine (good fruit) will not keep people from finding people to tell them what they want to hear. Paul identifies that the fruit in itself is what is to be judged not peoples reaction to it. Case in point. This website and the Non-affirming leaders like Matthew Vine. My question though is when will they be true to their mission statements and end their silence towards bisexuals and their full equality of having the option of plural marriage instead of the continued bigotry and intolerance that causes them to have too much to bear by forcing them to choose one love over another love? Is it political, cowardice, ignorance? Finally please look at Paul’s talk on men and long hair. Paul never says that it is sin or that men can’t have long hair. Read the whole thing. Especially where he says if a man wants to have long hair let him in verse 1 Corinthians 11:16. And please tell Matthew if you see him that when he goes on a fit about there being no rule against King David having multiple wives that there actually is: Deut 17:17. Amazes me how much wrong people with put up with just to justify sin.

        • Joshua…since we obviously disagree on what scripture says, I am not going to try and explain how the way I read it is different from the way you do. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, and the Lover of my soul. Thankfully, you don’t get to send me to hell…Only God can do that. If I am wrong, though, I know that I am covered – completely – by the Grace & love of Christ, as are you.
          One thing I must correct, though…I know a lot of people who are bisexual, but I have never met one (or heard of one) who wants to marry two people (one of each sex). Bisexuality only means that a person can be sexually attracted to both sexes….not that they want to marry both! Nobody in the gay Christian world is trying to push for the right for bisexual people to marry two people – not because we are intolerant but because 1) bisexuals don’t even want that right and 2) we believe that a covenantal, monogamous, lifelong marriage commitment is what God has designed for all of us. I hope that clears up the issue for you, Joshua.
          One question for you: Joshua, why does this issue upset you so much? What is at stake for you, my friend? Have you wrestled with trying to reconcile your own sexuality with scripture? Is that what has caused you to care so much about what others believe?

        • Seriously? Grace is the power to overcome. Not a covering for sin. If you are wrong. Which you are. That makes you a false teacher with bad fruit. A wolf according to Jesus. This isn’t just about someone having an opinion. You are leading people down a path as a teacher. Greater is the damnation for those in authority. James 3:1 Your version of Grace is lewd at Judas called it Jude 1:4. To understand grace study Noah as it is the first time in scripture and it is a great picture of it. When Noah found grace he got a job to build the arc. Grace gives you the means and power to overcome what is coming or what you are in. Work out your salvation in the NT writing of Paul Phil 2:12. Once saved always saved fails to line up with scripture as Jesus Himself threatened the church in Revelations with removing them from the book of life. You should really study how Jesus talks about evil love and also His side of severity towards those that believe not just the lost. You understanding of the scriptures is not just lop sided but missing a lot of Christ’s own teachings. As to no bisexual wanting to marry both sexes if false. They are already in the court systems fighting for that right using the very arguments for homosexual love and the words of the LGBT community for full equality. You however missed my point. What will be the answer of the church when they come to you with the same arguments you use for “affirming” homosexuality as a born orientation and no one should be forced into celibacy of their born “way”/sexuality, except they will argue that their born orientation requires them to marry both. If you are truly affirming and fighting for full equality and recognition and integration in the church, how will you say no without having to argue against your very position on homosexuality. Whether someone is now or not misses the point. They will. Also why should they have to without you saying it is ok. If that is their sexual orientation why not embrace it and speak about it instead of being silent. Silence on the matter is not affirming and actually against all the mission statements of LBGT groups that I have seen and since I am writing a book about this I read a lot. As to why this issue upsets me is because you and people like Matthew Vines twist and lie about scripture and distort God’s love leaving out also His fear. It is the great and terrible day of the Lord. Not the great day of the Lord. If you are going to lie and distort it is the churches responsibility to do as Jesus and Paul commanded us to do. Confront and if need be remove. The hope is that you will repent and restoration can begin before removal has to. Just do yourself a fovor and just study two of Matthew’s teachings. Good Tree/ Fruit Bad Tree/Fruit. See how he twists it to say that Jesus said good fruit brings good consequences. He never said that. Nor did he demonstrate that. Rich young ruler, pharisees wanting to stone him, almost being thrown off a cliff, telling people they had to eat His flesh and drink His blood, all teachings that drove people away or drove them to rage. Yet His teaching was perfect. The judging of the fruit is based on the fruit not how someone feels about it. Makes judgement subjective. Just like in the natural you judge the fruit (teaching/prophecy) by the fruit alone. Which then speaks to the tree. Paul edify’s this in 2 Timothy 4 when he talks about sound doctrine (good fruit) and the people will still leave to hear what they want. By Matthew’s definition Paul is wrong because the people left. Please actually study the word of God. Also please read all of lev 18 and see how leviticus 18:22 is for all nations with or without the law and defiles even the ground and is a toevah-abomination unlike eating shellfish which is a sheqets-abomination, that doesn’t defile the ground like lev 18:22 ,and was allowed before the law (Noah Gen 9) but is removed after the resurrection when God gives Peter the vision in Acts 10 which brings the food laws back to pre law to open the church up to the gentiles. Big difference between the two. If we are not under the law then why does Paul quote Leviticus 18 in 1 Corinthians 5 to remove a man from the church for sleeping with his stepmother? Then from there teach about removing people in sin from the church and he identifies porneia. Sex outside of the only marriage allowed by Jesus one man and one woman. As Jesus did first in Matthew 15. I am so sorry for your loss. But For the sake of a generation over your loss I will fight for this generation to be free in Christ with the truth of the Word of God and not the lies you and people like Matthew Vines are spreading. You are telling people it is ok to do what God says is not ok. God hates that. Isaiah 5:20-21 Woe to those that call good evil and evil good… Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. That’s why I fight! God’s true grace to overcome homosexuality is alive and well and there is a generation begging to be set free not told to stay in it. Please honestly study what God says in His word. He defines marriage then rejects everything else by saying it is damned. As do all the writers who discuss it. Jesus, the son of God, the creator of humans, who could see the hearts of man, who did only what the Father did. and said only what the Father said didn’t know about orientation. In His study of scripture he never pointed to Lev 18:22 and said “Hey Dad what’s up with this?” Really? Then came back after the resurrection glorified and fully as God and still didn’t know about orientation but told all his people to preach outside of marriage all sex is worthy of hell for ever if not repented of. Really, you know better? How can you go against Him on that with a clear conscience that you are doing right? Because you add “love” to it? May God have mercy on you for making double the children of hell as yourself like the pharisees. Please wake up and repent.

        • Joshua, I have honestly studied and I know all of those verses you’ve quoted. I have complete peace with Christ about this…Jesus was always about inclusion, not exclusion. The “Christianity” you speak of sounds very much like the faith of the pharisees, not that of Jesus.
          And most gay Christians have spent years and years praying and studying the Word, because this IS their struggle, their life – unlike you. I’d encourage you to spend your energy feeding the poor, loving those for whom it is hard to love, housing the homeless, visiting those in prison…just imagine what a difference you would make for the Gospel being FOR people rather than against them!
          I wish you well, Joshua.

        • You obviously have not studied them. Nor did you even have time to consider all that I just wrote you. You are very dishonest.

        • No…I don’t have time to argue with you. I just got a call from a housebound, chronically ill man we take care of and I need to go help him. You don’t need my help…you’ve got it all figured it out, right? Have a good day, Joshua.

        • Sorry that being shown you are wrong is only viewed as an argument with you. Yes I do have it figured out. Sorry for the day that someone hears the true teaching over your wrong teaching and you are exposed. Sorry for you that is. Is this why Matthew Vines hides instead of discussing the issue with those who can prove him wrong? You both do realize that the day is coming when you will actually have to explain your position beyond your emotions? God bless you to have the veil removed from your mind and heart and you truly get saved. May God show you the truth or at least stop you from lying to those already broken and hurting.

        • If I am “exposed” as you say, I will be glad…I want to know the truth, not just to be confirmed about what I currently believe. I am always open to learning! Matthew LOVES debating with those who disagree…I don’t know why you say that he hides…that is the last thing he does. Do you know Matthew, as we do? I think you’d like him. He is a wonderful guy who shows respect and dignity to everyone…even those who think he is a horrible person.
          I have never lied to anyone, Joshua…we’ve only shared our true experience. and I am always glad to explain our true position, as you say.
          I hope for the best for you, Joshua…truly I do.

        • Matthew does not debate with anyone who has any merit like Dr. Brown Br. White Rick Joyner. He will be in Kansas city coming up. Why not call the International House of Prayer and ask for someone to come over and do a talk with him for all to see. Not in private. He picks and chooses who he will meet in public and private. If you are really interested in learning then please take the time over the next few weeks and tell me where I am wrong in my comments with scripture. Explain to me how the creator of humans didn’t know about orientation. Matthew’s lie about Jesus’ teaching of good trees, abominations, Romans 1, Sodom from Ezekiel 16:50 …and abominations (toevah). Your lie is in teaching and supporting homosexual marriage and being non-affirming to bisexusls with the same issues all in the name of Christ. Please take the time and show me were I am wrong. Liking Matthew isn’t the point. Probably would. But when he calls himself a christian and teaches heresy and the practice of unrepentant sin I must follow Jesus and remove him from my fellowship if he is in it and unrepentant. Is their time to work these things out. Yes. The hope is restoration. But at this point the best that scripture allows is meetings only to put the issues on the table. Study fellowship. Jesus ate with the sinners but was always calling them out of their sin in due time and even those who followed Him he worked to challenge them to stay. Like Ear my flesh and drink my blood. The issue is primarily in giving time to repent and not just jump to immediate expulsion. That requires leading by the Holy Spirit and cannot be completely defined. But the open allowance of teaching heresy is against all scripture. Study what the church and even Jesus did about it. Pretty clear. There is a time to allow the money exchangers to do what they do and then there is a time to over turn their tables and whip them. That is new testament example. Not OT example. Kinda doesn’t fit in with your inclusive “loving” version of Jesus does it?

        • Joshua, Matthew asks pastors like Dr. Brown and Brother Joyner to debate him, but they always refuse. That said, have them set up a public debate – Matthew would be thrilled!
          P.S. Jesus didn’t whip anybody. 🙂 Read Matthew 21 again…it sounds like someone has taught you in error.

        • John 2:15 please read. Then let me know you are sorry for falsely accusing me. The loving thing to do.

        • or you could cover up your sin and let it find you out. Others may not know about it but you and I will. Heavy choice you have. Choose this day Linda!

        • FYI you may want to verify with Matthew Vines who he talks with and who he doesn’t. It will save you from wrong statements of saying that he is willing to debate Dr. Brown, Dr. White or Rick Joyner. Especially when you lie and say he has asked them when he hasn’t. In fact he is on google video talking about why he refuses to debate with Dr. White. Just a thought to help you be honest in your dialogues. Still waiting for my apology for falsely accusing me of not knowing my scripture and you falsely correction me with impunity when you are the one wrong. Time to walk out your faith Linda.

        • Joshua, please check my comment. I never said Matthew asked Dr. Brown. I said Matthew asks pastors LIKE Dr. Brown to debate. Matthew is a dear friend of ours, and he is a committed follower of Jesus Christ, who he does believe is God.
          I am sorry that you feel that I have lied and disrespected you. I have been completely honest here. The purpose of this blog is NOT to facilitate debate. Sometimes it does go on between commenters, but I try to make sure they stay respectful.
          I’ve approved many of your comments, Joshua. You’ve had a lot of opportunities to share your views. I believe we can trust God to do the rest of the work – He is more than able to convict those who need convicting. Including me – I ask Him to show me my own errors and sin, and He is always faithful.
          Praying for you, Joshua.

        • I do apologize. You did say that Matthew asks Pastors like Dr. Brown etc. Again I do apologize for misunderstanding like as meaning he did ask them specifically, Now as to your other point in that same message you said to ask them meaning Dr.Brown at least, and Matthew would be happy to debate him. No he wouldn’t. Dr. Brown has a national radio show and and open invitation to debate/discuss these issue with Matthew and Matthew refuses. He also refuses Dr. White claiming Dr. White compared homosexuality to beastiality which I can’t find any evidence of. Matthew is also on Google video saying he does not debate men like them because he doesn’t see the point. He only wants those leaning more his way. There are articles dedicated to just talking about his unwillingness to debate. Please watch video for yourself. You tube- Matthew Vines Talks at Google. Now I will pass on your message to them so they can see claim that you made that Matthew is willing to debate with them as I have already contacted Matthew with the message to make him aware of it. I am also still waiting for my apology. Have a blessed day.

        • I AM sorry, Joshua. And thank you for apologizing for accusing me of lying…I really appreciate that. Now that you remind me of what Matthew has said, I can see that you are right about pastors “like Dr. Brown.” Not knowing Dr. Brown, I assumed he was similar to Pastor Tim Keller, Theologian N.T. Wright, and many other conservative Christian scholars…all of whom Matthew is more than willing to debate. You are incorrect at saying that Matthew only debates those who are “leaning more his way.” That isn’t true at all.
          Again, I apologize and hope you will forgive me. Have a great weekend, Joshua! I hope you do something fun. 🙂

        • May want to hear Matthews own words at video you listed on you tube: Matthew Vines talks at Google. You can hear him explain it himself.

        • For you to ponder over the weekend. Which by the way hope is sunny and warm! Matthew teaches that Paul said men having long hair was sin and not allowed. This is in reference to 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. Please read this again. Is short so shouldn’t take long. But please notice verse 16 where Paul says regarding men with long hair and woman covering their head: “But if anyone disagrees we have no such custom, not do the churches of God.” Never was called a sin and not ever ordered to be done by Paul. When Paul is looking at long hair and covering he is applying the same two measures that he does in Romans. Natural and Scriptural. If you walk through what he is saying in chapter 11 that is what he is doing. When they don’t add up, unlike in Romans, he doesn’t apply it. Not everything unnatural to man is wrong or sin. Proverbs 6:6 is a perfect example of what Paul was considering in chapter 11, is all in nature for us. Ants have no leaders. So if someone was to say naturally we see no leadership in ants so man doesn’t need leadership. Then second test would be that of scripture. 2nd test overrides because unlike the ant we have direct call to have leadership. Something to consider. At least you could give Matthew heads up that he looks foolish to those of us that read our Bibles and see that Paul never called long hair sin nor did he say a man couldn’t have long hair. Nor did he call for women to cover their heads. Verse 16 is more crucial than v 14. Please read 1-16. Joshua

        • Linda – I and most if not all of us here stand with you. You have shared your expereinces with others of us who either are or have LGBT family and friends. We all sin and God loves all of us more than we will ever imagine. He even sent his son to die on the cross for our sins. Joshua this includes you as well but please stop with the rants and let’s just agree to disagree, No one has the right to judge but God himself – our job is to love God and each other. God Bless.

        • Sorry that you feel these are rants. They are truth of Christianity. I am aware that God loves me. Thank you though for telling me. The bible teaches us to Judge. The most common error is when people misquote Jesus in Matthew 7 by implying we are not to judge. However, it isn’t a call not to judge but to judge rightly. Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus teaches how to overcome your sin so you can then help others to overcome theirs. In Matthew 18:15-17 Jesus give direct principle teaching on judging to the point of removal of a believer who sins just as Paul does in 1 Corinthians 5. Jesus also rebukes the pharisees for their love of money but not judging Matthew 23:23. Then finally to tell someone to stop judging is to judge. So, interesting theology. Scripture says all have sinned. Not that we are to continue in sin. If we walked in your theory than Jesus and Paul are wrong to remove people for sexual sins from the church because we can’t judge. Should we also do away with the judicial system since that is nothing but judging? To also look at your call not to judge, by meaning telling the truth, is the equivalent of not preaching the gospel, nor the work that you are doing to include LGBT people in churches by trying to correct their beliefs. Do you not see your hypocrisy? I have come with the truth. Sorry you don’t like it. I came only judging the doctrines, work and explained there end result which is hell. Nobody has done anything to discuss or challenge that except to complain about me. Try focusing on the doctrines and the Bible and maybe you will see how harmful what you are doing is to people. Everlasting harm. All while using the name of Jesus. Shame on you Dawn. You are not loving your neighbor by lying to them about what scripture says. You are their and Christ’s enemy. Reconcile yourself please and stop hurting others. I am always interested in where you can actually demonstrate from scripture your positions. Again I will make the offer to list all of the teachings and how I see them as wrong and give you the opportunity to do the same. If you don’t like discourse and correction. Then don’t have a blog.

        • As for feeding the poor etc they can all be done without giving up on another. Also this is my struggle. Yet I found freedom in Christ’s true grace to overcome. So please, if you are going to judge me do it correctly. I know their struggle far more than you ever will. I also know the answer as Jesus also told us to set the captives free with the truth of the gospel. Not teach them how to stay in their sin and be sent to hell. Jesus was never inclusive as you define it. He met people where they were at and called them out of their sin. Like the woman who washed His feet with her tears. Or the Adulteress woman. Imagine doing what you are doing but for stripper single mothers trying to raise a child all alone. We could easily apply all of your false teachings to that and there would be no difference in the messages. We could hold conferences with single mother strippers crying about raising their child all alone and just doing the best they can and how it is too hard to not do it and Jesus is inclusive and at least they are not on welfare etc. Is that really the gospel? NO! What you are doing is wrong and hurting people.

        • Joshua,
          I’m not really sure what brought you to this site, but that doesn’t really matter in the context of what I’d ask you to consider. There really is no “dividing line” between 2 camps on the issues of either homosexuality or “gay marriage.” People, and their beliefs are much more complex & nuanced than that. But if it were that simple, then many would put me in the same “camp” as you. You should be able to discern this from my other posts on this site.
          Yet, in my sincere and heartfelt struggle to discern truth on these important topics, there’s another issue that’s come to the fore that’s equally important. I’ve really struggled with this “other issue”, because as a Christian, I think it’s more important for me to get clarity & understanding on “it” than it is for me to gain firm conviction & clarity on the a fore mentioned issues. This other issue is very complex, but it boils-down to this: “As a Christian, what is the proper (most edifying, least confrontational, compassionate, loving,etc.) way for me to relate & respond to my fellow man (or woman) who is struggling with these or other issues?” Many, many, many Christians whom are “young in the Spirit” focus almost exclusively on the prohibitions of the Bible. But what is even more important are the Biblical admonitions that teach us how to “teach” by the example of our humility, compassion, understanding, love, and genuine concern.
          Think of it in this context: What How successful would an elementary school teacher be if she/he countered a child’s erroneous results or thinking with derisiveness, coarse debate, and condescension?
          Please consider your approach… or in Biblical terms, “Look to the wooden plank in your own eye, before focusing on the splinter in the eye of another.”

          mike miller

        • What brought me here is the lies being told. The scripture is clear on what is right and wrong. The nuance point is void. Jesus was black and white on this issue. Although your point on teachings is partially correct it lacks it fullness. First I am not a new Christian. Second Jesus was very confrontational and I make no apologizes for doing so with someone who is a position to lead people wrongly in the name of Christ. If you read all of my entries you would see that I did recognize that there is a call for restoration and I fully support it. However there is also a call to confront sin and if the person is unrepentant mark them and remove them from the people. I have no authority in this venue to do that but I can confront as I have influence. These two are not separate from each other but one in the same. Not just from Paul but also from Jesus. I disagree with your categorization of my points. I said the truth. Also very wrong in judging me for not having the plank out of my eye in being free to confront on this issue. I have and continue to study the in depth Scriptural references on this matter and that was my discussion. I don’t mislead people about homosexuality and what the bible says so there is not plank in my eye in this regards. Need to really study what that means. The disciples had their issues yet preached for people to repent. they had removed the plank of non repentance form their eye which allowed them to preach repentance. Your use of the scripture is in error. Sorry that you fail to see that this is an eternity issue. People are going into eternity damned or with everlasting life. this is not a game. If people think I am being a little harsh with a false teacher (not the student) then so be it. Maybe they should watch me with the student to judge me properly.

        • Hello Joshua, (you have a great name, by the way)
          You and I are talking about two different things. You (if I may), are speaking of “the letter of the law” of scripture, or “the gospel” as you’ve called it. But that’s only a part of the gospel. What I’m speaking of is also a part of the gospel, but it is by far the more difficult part to understand and apply. What I’m speaking of is the way in which the Bible teaches us to relate to others, both inside and outside the body of Christ.
          I once listened to a great sermon, at least tangentially related to this topic. The preacher explained that many “seekers of God”, of any age, have a problem believing the Bible in its entirety. Do you remember the movie, The Ten Commandments, with Charleton Heston? Do you remember the spectacular scene that depicted the power of God parting the Red Sea, allowing the Israelites to escape Pharaoh’s chariots? Well, this is an example of some of the more spectacular things in the Bible that a lot of folks have a hard time believing. Should we argue with “seekers”, or even those within the church concerning the factual basis of this story? Of course not. Why? Because it is not central to either the gospel nor the great commission. All that is necessary for salvation is this: 1) Believe and have faith in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and that Christ died on the cross for our sins; 2) Believe and have faith that Christ defeated death, rose on the third day, lives and sits at the right hand of the Father; 3) Repent our sins and sinful nature. That’s it, and that’s all. The rest we can argue about ’till the cows come home.
          [Note on “Repentance”: Repent means to BOTH be remorseful for our past sins AND to turn from sin going forward (Go, and sin no more.) BUT, we should also temper our zeal, and recognize with great humility that this ideal (sin no more) is unattainable, by us, in this life. There can be no such perfection by us “in the flesh.”]
          Joshua, there’s an awful lot that you’ve said with which I agree. There are a few things you’ve said with which I emphatically disagree. But the primary thrust of my disagreement with you concerns not what you’ve said, but how you’ve said it. It’s apparent that you think of yourself as a teacher of the gospel. It’s also apparent that you’ve categorized some of us as “false teachers” and “students.” I’ve said many times, and I firmly believe that humility is an essential Christian virtue. This is an area where God, Linda Robertson, and I may have you at a disadvantage. Why? We are all parents. You, by your own admission, are not. Imagine the futility of trying to describe the majesty and vastness of the ocean to someone who’s never been to the seashore. That’s how futile it would be for me to try to describe to you the humbling experience of being a loving parent. God knows it. Linda Robertson knows it, and I know it. I don’t wish to demean you. I’m just saying that it is simply an experience you do not have. One of the humbling things you learn as a parent is that, more often than not, it’s actually counterproductive to whack your children on the forehead with the “2×4 of truth.” You can’t [verbally] beat the truth into someone. It’s much more productive (and more difficult) to earnestly appeal to the heart and the mind.
          Oh, and we are all students. We are, at best teacher’s aides. The real teacher is the Holy Spirit.
          I wish you well.


        • I will try to answer all of your points later. I am being threatened with silence which is typical of this group. They lie and silence. However It doesn’t work on low level blogs like this. So will be back later after set up alternate entry for posts. Will say that what you laid out for salvation is just the beginning of salvation. If what you say is all that is needed then diminishes salvation to a prayer. Why then would Jesus declare war on His own church in Revelations? Or threaten to take their names out of the book of life? Is more than that. Your we are at best teachers aides is rediculous. They are teachers and people are recognized as such in the Bible. Maybe you want to be wishy washy about that but I don’t. I take people saying they spent years studying and have no clue what they are talking about and hurting and destroying lives with it. They must be called out when in public forum like this and told the truth. Sorry you disagree. Guess you will just have to accept my position while I reject yours. Will write more later and explain.

        • Are you the Mike Miller from Peoria who was the religious editor of the Journal Star? Just curious.

        • Jumping in late here, but I want to thank Linda so much for her beautiful and heartbreaking story. That being said, I’m a bit confused as to why anyone would come here and post judgmental, anti-gay messages. Something led them here. A straight person without personal stake would not be here. So there’s a reason for the anti-gay comments. My career is medicine, and I’ve studied psychiatry extensively, and I’ve long suspected that some of the most anti-gay, pro- “Christian” people are in the closet, and full of fear and self-hatred. So very sad… I actually believe sexuality is a linear continuum, and on the one end is the exclusively straight, and on the other end is the exclusively gay; but there are many shades and variations in between, and most people (maybe especially men) fall in the “in between.” Men love to engage in physical contact with each other (sports); and when men are alone together for extended periods of time, they invariably engage in sex with each other, whether or not they identify as straight. And men are—in general and with some exceptions—much more threatened by homosexuality than women. Too close to home for them? Who knows… That being said, if you back away from religion for a moment, and are secure in your own sexuality (whatever it may be), when you ponder same-sex love, there is not a threat to be found. There is nothing distasteful. It’s like different shades of color. It’s only those people who are insecure in themselves, for whatever reason (and I suspect the main reason to be their own sexuality), that place blame and cast judgment.

          And in the name of God? Well, let’s look at that a little more closely, too. As mikeinasheville so eloquently states, there is not ONE PLACE where Jesus said anything against same sex love. Not even one place… He did speak out against adultery and divorce, but even more frequently and with more fervor, He spoke out against casting judgment on others (most especially horrible is when one does it in His Name!!). I write this as a devout Catholic, and the mother of not just one gay child, but TWO gay children (I have 5 kids). I know deep in my heart that, despite what Christianity has falsely proclaimed, there is absolutely no sin in homosexuality, because, in true Christianity, GOD IS LOVE AND THE ONLY SOURCE OF LOVE, so love—between any 2 persons, no matter their genders—CAN ONLY COME FROM HIM. He is the source. Love doesn’t come from any other source BUT Him. That’s what has always made me completely perplexed about the so-called Christian argument against homosexuality. Where do they think the love between the couple comes from? They didn’t buy it at the “gay store”! There is only one source of love. Love is a gift given by God. And if God so chooses to give love to a same-sex couple, then, if you’re a Christian, it is actually BLASPHEMOUS to degrade and judge that love! You are judging a precious gift from God. Think about it, all you haters. Back away for a second and think about what I just wrote. It’s not hard. God is the source of love. Love between a gay couple, therefore, comes from God, since it can’t come from anywhere else, since there is no other source of love but God. If it comes from God, then it’s a gift from God, so how dare we—as His little stupid creatures—cast judgment on such an incredible divine gift?

          And here’s the other thing that has always stumped me about the so-called “Christian” anti-gay argument: people are born with their sexual orientation. BORN WITH IT. Just like their eye color. They do not choose it. Does anyone honestly think a humble, beautiful 12 year-old boy, terrified to tell his Christian parents, would admit to being gay if it wasn’t as much a part of him as his skin color? Does anyone truly think that a beautiful young kid, with his or her life full of promise and future possibilities unending, would commit suicide rather than “come out” if it wasn’t as deeply a part of them as their facial features? This is not a choice, folks. Have we not figured that out by now? Who would “choose” something that so many people and so many religions abhor?? Who would “choose” to be an outcast and a target of such bigotry? Would ANY 12 year-old child choose that?? No. This is not about “lifestyle,” and it is not about sin (and really, how can we call ANY love a sin?? Jesus said THAT was the unforgivable sin: calling good evil. Look it up!). This is about WHO YOU ARE. So, all that being said, if you’re Christian, you believe that GOD MADE US WHO WE ARE. Therefore, God made us gay or straight. AND GOD DOESN’T MAKE MISTAKES.

          That’s all. Thanks for letting me give my humble opinion.

        • Where in the Bible does it say to judge homosexual love as sinful and wicked is blasphemous? Your teaching on love is wrong. Jesus actually has a number of direct teaches on evil and abominable love. Love is routinely in both OT and NT condemned for being evil when the love is for something that God forbids. Homosexuality being one of those things. Please do yourself a favor and study love in the Bible.

      • Being gay is not just about behavior, just like being straight isn’t about only about behavior. Why is it all the folks like you choose to pick on one aspect of who gay people are to talk about? Gay people have jobs, they go to school, they give to charities, they do lots of things in life, just as a straight person does.
        I’ve seen more damage done by people who make the choice to push gay folks back into hiding and not by a gay person living their lives with love, respect and trust from their family, friends and the partner of their heart.

        • Gryph,
          I agree with your first statement, that “Being gay is not just about behavior, just like being straight isn’t about only about behavior.” But that doesn’t mean that we can’t isolate the [involuntary] impulse, desire, or proclivity from the [proactive] behavior, both for the sake of discussion and in terms of conduct. If we couldn’t isolate impulse from behavior, then we’d be mere animals, and most of us would be murderers. As for your inquiry: People’s jobs, schools, giving habits, etcetera are not generally thought of as controversial. (At least not by me.)

        • Mike, (May I call you by your first name?)
          “But that doesn’t mean that we can’t isolate the [involuntary] impulse, desire, or proclivity from the [proactive] behavior, both for the sake of discussion and in terms of conduct. If we couldn’t isolate impulse from behavior, then we’d be mere animals, and most of us would be murderers.”

          So you see being gay as just an impulse and one that is wrong by your standards? I’m trying to figure out where your thoughts are going with this; as I don’t see the act of sexual love that gay people have as being any different than the act of love that straight people have. Gay people are not different from straight people except in who they love. When a gay person tries to live as a straight person it does damage to them, gay people know they are different, that they don’t fit into the push of standard society. You would find much more common ground

          Actually humans are the ones who do tend to murder, more so than any other of the animal species out there. Most of the animal population that hunts does so for food, the deaths in mating is more accident than the animals actually trying to kill each other.

          So you get on here to pump up the controversy because of sex? Again, I’m trying to understand where your head is on this.

        • Gryph,
          Of course you can use my first name. Thank you for asking, and for your sincere & respectful inquiry. I’ll try to give you insight as to “where my head is on this”, but honestly, I’m still figuring that out myself.

          I am first & foremost a Christian. For me, that does not mean that “I think I’m perfect”, or “always right”, or “have all the answers”, or necessarily “morally superior”, or “better than anyone else”, or anything of the like. What it means to me [in brevity] is that I recognize that I am a broken & flawed individual. It means that I recognize that in the eyes of God, I am of no more [or less] value than any of His other children. It means that I believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, that he died on the cross for our sins, and that he rose on the third day to sit at the right hand of the Father. It means that I believe God truly loves everyone. God’s love is unconditional… but His offer of redemption & salvation [through Jesus Christ] is not. I believe “being Christian” means understanding & acknowledging that the Bible is the word of God, and that only through its diligent study, with humility, and guided by the Holy Spirit can we possibly come more closely to understanding God and God’s purpose [for us]. But Christian humility also means that we should recognize that our understanding can never be complete & comprehensive in this life. We are not capable of fully understanding all. Because if we could, there would be no reason for faith.

          Your query: “So you see being gay as just an impulse and one that is wrong by your standards?”
          That’s actually two questions, each meriting their own response.
          First, I do not see “being gay” as “just an impulse” as I’ve made quite clear. Whatever words I use here will sound condescending because of the oversimplification required of brevity. Sexuality (hetero, homo, or otherwise) is a very complex issue that none of us completely understand. Both science and theology fail to completely & definitively outline it. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t break it into parts for the sake of discussion in order to seek the truth & understanding.
          Second: “So you see being gay as… wrong by your standards?”
          This is going to sound either “a cop-out” or “high-minded.” Very humbly and sincerely, I mean it as neither. It’s not “my standards” that are of paramount importance to me. What is most important to me is understanding what God’s standards are, and why (if I can). In deeply serious & heartfelt discussions with my son, I half-jokingly tell him that he could sin constantly for the next 30 years and still not catch up to me. (Not a challenge, but a light-hearted warning.) Throughout my life, “my standards” have been all over the board. But God’s are constant, if not always easily understood. Additionally, neither “my standards” nor “God’s standards” would I seek to impose on anyone else. True Christianity seeks (voluntary) conversion by appealing to hearts and minds… not through involuntary coercion or imposition.

          You state: “…I don’t see the act of sexual love that gay people have as being any different than the act of love that straight people have.”
          The comingling of “sex” and “love” as near synonymous is a relatively recent cultural phenomenon. This didn’t occur until the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Prior to that, they were understood as quite distinct and separate concepts, certainly not synonymous, and not necessarily overlapping. For this post, I will deal only with the “love” portion of your statement. The mantra “love is love” makes about as much sense as “color is green” or “flowers are roses”. There are many different colors and there are many distinct types of flowers. Likewise, there are different kinds of love. The Bible describes 4 different types of love, and they are hierarchical (some worth more than others). They are agape, eros, philia, and storge. The “sexual love” to which you allude is sensual love or eros love. Agape is the most praiseworthy, and is characterized as being selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional.
          I was raised Southern Baptist, but I married a Catholic in the Catholic church. A prerequisite for marrying in the Catholic church was my attendance in “marriage counseling” classes. I really didn’t want to do this. I did then, and still do have many reservations/concerns about Catholicism. But if that was what was required for me land my bride, then so be it, I thought. As it turned out, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. The meetings were very informal. There were maybe 6-8 prospective couples who met with an older married couple, in their home, twice a week, for 2 months. This older married couple were not clergy; they were not there to preach to us. They were there to emphasize the serious nature of the commitment we were making, and to enlighten us with their own challenges & experiences. Nothing was “off the table” for discussion. We discussed everything from marital challenges, to child-rearing, to sexual intimacies. It is there that I learned of the different types of love. It was there that I learned that eros love was totally insufficient to sustain a marriage. A successful marriage requires all 4 types of love, at one time or another. Love isn’t simply something you “fall into”; It’s something you do, and commit to doing again and again (No, I don’t mean sex. But you commit to that as well.). Love isn’t simply a noun, but a verb, and it will require sacrifice. A successful marriage is not a 50/50 or 60/40 proposition. A successful marriage is a 101/101 commitment… to put the needs and best interests of your spouse first & always, to the best of your ability, and with God’s help. To once again borrow a line from a movie, “Choose wisely, and commit wholeheartedly.”
          Jack & Joan were the names of my host “older married couple.” I credit what I learned from Jack & Joan for saving my 28 year marriage on more than several occasions.

          Many couples miss the mark on “love” because they don’t understand it as much more than an emotional and/or physical attraction/affection (both gay and straight). Sadly, our sensual culture reinforces this simplistic misunderstanding. Reference our high divorce rates, for example. Therefore, many couples enter into a commitment ill-prepared for the inevitable challenges they will face. On the night before my wedding my Aunt Jeanette asked me if I knew the secret to a life-long marriage. With greatest humility, I answered “No.” She said, “Never, ever let the word “divorce” even enter your vocabulary.” Then she smiled and added a qualifier, “Now murder, yes… but never divorce.”

          Gryph, many of us can go through life in “comfortable denial”, without wrestling in a serious way with some of the most controversial issues of our time. We can do that, because many times, the issues don’t directly affect us personally. (At least, we may think they don’t.) But sometimes, no matter the issue, we’re hit square in the face with the immediacy of an issue close to home. Sometimes right in our own home. Then, what I call “comfortable denial” is no longer an option. That’s the position in which I find myself. I have both a small immediate family, and a large extended family that looks to me for wisdom, guidance, and affirmation. Whether I’m deserving of such responsibility or not is beside the point. Again, that’s the position in which I find myself.
          I think that both the polar opposite positions defining this cultural debate at present are wrong. I think/believe that the truth-the wisdom lies somewhere else (maybe not even the middle). I’m simply searching to find what’s right and true. I only know one way to do that… through informed debate, respectful discussion, allegiance to truth, prayer, diligent study, intellectual honesty, and more prayer.
          best regards,

        • Mike,
          Thank you for your well thought out answer to me. I was born in the 50’s and grew up during the 60’s and early 70’s. I remember that time of transition that you are talking about. Your Aunt Jeanette was a very smart woman and I agree with her with only one caveat, if either partner in the marriage is abusive, the other one should be free to move on. Dying at the hands of the person who says they love you is not something that should be tolerated. To me the Eros love is just part of what makes a good and happy couple and yes any relationship that is worth having is worth more than just the passing bump in the night so to speak. The 101/101% work that you talk about. That’s why so many gay couples feel like less than human when they are tagged as only sexual beings, not beings who feel far more than having to satisfy an urge. Unfortunately too many Christians only see that aspect of any gay relationship. It is severely off-putting to only be worth something when living by what some Christians put up as the only rules there are, which in some cases don’t always strike even other Christians as being right. I saw a nasty fight on a news topic site one time between some very strong Christians about once saved vs always saved. It was horrible because these two people had agreed on so many other things, but didn’t on that and were calling each other foul names, it even embarrassed some of the other Christians who would talk on that site because of the sudden hate between the two who were fighting on that issue.

          I take time to read not just the words that are written, but also to see about the feeling behind them and I could tell you were not trying to be trite or condescending in your explanations to me. I grew up Lutheran and tried several other forms of Christianity in trying to find where my heart belonged. I found I kept getting pushed back to being a Pagan (started when I was 15) who loves to learn about people and to help folks think about things. I have never seen why we can’t all be friends and learn from each other, as you said none of us knows everything. I see humans as limited only in that so many don’t open their thoughts to ask and learn from those who’ve had to walk the hard paths. Like being gay or transgender. I can personally tell you that not one of us wakes up one morning and thinks, “Oh, I think I’ll be gay today and next week I’ll go back to being straight” or wake up saying “I feel like a woman today and next week I’ll go back to feeling like a man.” I can tell you about my family, I can tell you about me and maybe the stories along with your prayers will help you to figure some things out.

          I’m not the only one in my family who is gay, I use that term even though I am female as it’s the easiest term to use. I have an uncle who transitioned many years ago from female to male. He is happy with his life, he has a wife who loves him and they had children together. (Yes, they did the sperm donation route.) It took all of us a little bit of time to get used to the change, but he was happier than he had been as a female, he was finally whole in his body and mind when the surgeries and all were finished. I had another uncle and a cousin who were also gay. That uncle is four years older than I am and I’m not even sure he’s still alive. His life was fully messed up, some was his doing and some was because he ran into so much hate that it took a toll on his self esteem. When you keep running into brick walls it’s so much easier to self medicate, not that one can ever go back from being who they are without damaging themselves. You speak about all the things you’ve done that were not things that you should have done, but how do you stop being what everything inside yourself tells you who you are? He almost succeeded in killing himself in high school. My other cousin died from complications from AIDS. I didn’t know he was gay until I got back together with some of my family at my grandmother’s memorial service. That was when I found out he was dead. I was hurt because he’d always been nice to me, didn’t treat me like an interfering little kid like some of my other, older cousins did. Now to me, Like I said I grew up Lutheran, we weren’t strict about going to church, but because I knew my grandma would be really happy I found a church to go to that I could walk to, it was about a mile away from where I lived and went through confirmation as it’s the right of passage in a way to being an adult. I always had a lot of questions and none of the churches I ever went to could explain things well enough for me. I always knew I was different, I wasn’t like the other girls who liked wearing dresses and thing like that. In Jr High I really wanted to be a boy so I could have a girlfriend. I had a crush on an older girl, she was the sister of a friend of mine. She thought it was funny that I was crushing on her and that she had a boyfriend. I followed them once to see where they were going and doing. I watch them kissing, I so wanted it to be me that was kissing her. I tried praying that I could be the same as everyone else, but God never “fixed” me. I used pot and alcohol for awhile, to try being like everyone else, it didn’t work. I tried running from who I was and that didn’t work either. Finally I quit running, I was 30 when I came out to my mom and then to my dad. It was over the phone as I lived in a different state. After my grandma’s memorial service my mom and I got into a bad verbal battle and we didn’t speak for somewhere between ten to fifteen years. I got hold of some material from PFLAG(Parents, Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and sent it to her, things got better then, but we still didn’t talk the way we had with the same kind of closeness as when I was younger. I’ve been different all my life, now I enjoy the difference as I can be one of the folks who shows others that those of us who are gay aren’t so bad and why would we be here if Deity didn’t want us to be so. If I were given the chance to be straight all my life, would I take it? No, I grew more as a caring person by having to go through some of the things I have. It’s given me a way to see things that I wouldn’t have seen before and to me that’s a good thing.

          I hope your day has been good, mine was. 🙂

        • Hello Gryph,
          I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I’ve read and reread your message to me many times… and given your words much thought. I greatly appreciate your charitable tone towards me, and I hope that my words continue to be perceived the same towards you. It sounds as though we’re about the same age (I’m 59), but no doubt our life experiences have differed significantly. You covered so much ground in your message. I hope that it’s OK if I “cherry pick” on thing about which to respond. Being Mother’s Day, I’ve not as much time to write as I would like.

          One recurring theme in your words (if I may paraphrase) is the offensiveness of having “gayness” (for lack of a better term) seemingly continually questioned, debated, scrutinized, criticized, etc. Believe it or not, I can absolutely & unequivocally understand that feeling. You state that such scrutiny or debate can make you feel “less than human”, and is “severely off-putting.” Again, I can absolutely understand, empathize, and even agree with you on this point. As often as not, I think you, and the rest of the gay community are justified in feeling that way. But in our modern culture, and because we’re all both fallible and feeling humans, I don’t see how to totally eliminate that problem. Let me try to explain what I mean.
          First, we’re all creatures of emotion- we all have feelings with varying sensibilities. It’s inevitable that folks are going to have their feelings hurt when they perceive that they are personally attacked… on whatever issue. Perceptions don’t always align with reality, but often they do. When feelings are hurt, a defensive wall goes up, and debate or dialogue is effectively shut-down. Therefore, people who purposefully or callously offend, undercut their own message. But it’s also true that some folks are way too easily offended, sometimes to the point of being irrational. (Extreme example: I have a niece who demands that her dogs be afforded near-same status in the family as my son. She rationalizes that because she can’t have kids, her dogs are her kids, and should be treated as such by everyone else. She gets personally offended when it’s pointed out that her dogs are animals, not human.) When an individual or group is offended by the truth itself, spoken with gentleness, love, & compassion, there’s no way to rationally accommodate.
          Second. In our modern culture, “simplicity & sensation sells.” Whatever the issue, we’re constantly fed the extreme, polar opposing narratives, because they’re the most sensational and require the least thought. In our fast-paced world, our media targets emotion, not intellect. Shock journalism has been mainstreamed, and deliberate objectivity is rare, as nearly everyone hides one sociological agenda or another. On any and all issue where an individual hopes to discern the truth, people must learn to dig deeper than what somebody else says. (This really scares me for our youth. Generally speaking, they are far less prepared than the preceding 2-3 generations in this regard.) Example: My son really struggled (academically) in grade school. His problems were so pronounced that ultimately, my wife & I seriously considered retainment (having him repeat a grade). The school counselors & “experts” were adamantly against this, repeatedly citing what “the research says.” So, I called their bluff, so to speak. I said, “Show me this research… all of it.” It took me months to get them to actually produce anything. Ultimately, they gave me 3 papers. Two of the 3 papers were not research at all, but were opinion pieces by so-called experts with well publicized preconceptions & sociological agendas. These papers didn’t even cite any research as evidence to support their claims. The 3rd paper was actual research, but I’m quite confident that the counselors & “experts” at my son’s school had never read it with discerning objectivity. The paper was more than 20 years old, but it was still relevant. A close read of the paper actually supported my wife’s & my contentions, and was in diametric opposition to the recommendations of the counselors & “experts.” I often tell my son, “If you want to know the truth on any issue, or about anybody, forget what they say (people will say anything)… read what they write (read ravenously), and just as importantly, watch what they do (look for patterns of behavior).”

          Ooops. I’m out of time, Gryph. I’ll try to pick this up later.
          Happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms.


        • it only takes one white lie to go to hell. Now matter if you feed a million orphans a day for 100 years. Heaven is perfect and requires perfection. Must repent of sin, even if one, and become one with Christ, applying the blood to wash away your sin. You die dirty with sin, you don’t get in. Let me put it to you this way. If you were gang raped for a day by 20 people and at the end of the day if they showed you there charitable giving would it make it ok? When you sin and try to show God your good works it is worse to him than that would be to you. Christ was ripped apart by a whip with bone, and other fragments on it to the point He was unrecognizable according to Isaiah. Hung on the cross for hours in the most painful of deaths. Became a curse and sin for you and was for the first time ever, separated from Father God because of your sin. Try showing Him you charity receipt and see what He thinks of it. The scripture that says ‘I [God] will never leave you nor forsake you” Wasn’t a promise for Jesus. He was forsaken.

        • One last question then…don’t you think that a mom who loves her son more than life itself would take an enormous amount of time to study this, given his eternity possibly being at stake? I don’t know if you have children, but if you do, you know how much your love would compel you to spend years studying this, as I have.
          And praise God, I am at peace. I hope you are, too, Joshua, and that you know how fiercely He loves you.

        • I don’t have children nor would I even begin to have that debate over you loving your child. But telling me how many years you studied and how much you love your son doesn’t make what you are saying or doing right nor is it the issue. My focus is on the children of other parents that you are teaching and leading wrongly and hurting them. As a parent I would presume that is something you can understand especially if it was one of your children. Imagine if you had these beliefs when your son was alive and someone came along and told him it was sin and that lead to his death.Would you not fight against that person to protect your child. I see all people struggling with homosexuality as someones children and I am doing my best to protect them from lies with the truth. Please show me in the next few weeks or even a month from now where I am wrong. I will gladly spell out in a separate personal email to you many of my points clearly and give a a lot of time to respond to them. I will keep it at a point for point and not even refer to you as a false teacher once or that you are lying! I only do that now to bring the seriousness of the situation in this confronting because it is absolutely needed. It saved Nicodemus. Give it a thought. It’s time to be honest in the church and call things as they are for the sake of peoples eternities.

        • Joshua, you and I have more in common than you think…we both want to care for the “children of other parents” as you say. It is for THEM that we originally wrote our story, though we never planned for it to become public – that was God’s doing.
          Because of those children, I am no longer going to approve your comments; it is my deep belief that they are harmful and portray an incorrect vision of who God is…a God of wrath and vengeance instead of a God who IS love.
          As for going through each of your points, I have spent a great deal of time with each of the scriptures you bring up, and am confident in the interpretation that I, and many others (including Christian theologians, pastors, scholars and ethicists) have come to believe. You aren’t going to change my mind…especially after what we lived through. We tried it your way for 8 years, and it only brought emotional, relational, mental, spiritual and, finally, physical death. Your way, from my perspective, may be from the church, but it isn’t from God.
          I’ll be praying for you, Joshua…much love to you.

        • Really? Ask Ask Ananias and Sapphirra what can happen when you lie to the Holy Spirit. NT not OT. At the feet of Peter they dropped dead for a lie. Acts 5

    • Actually Jesus taught on evil love. Love is not all equal. Please study in Scripture all the ways love is shown to be evil.

      • Jesus did not call ANY love evil, and to say He did is blasphemous. Calling love evil is blasphemous, because God IS love.
        Which means the Holy Spirit is Love, as part of the Trinity (“God is Love” –St John’s Gospel), so the sin against the Holy Spirit is calling or making Love evil. That is the “unforgivable sin.”

        I think you need to find a different spiritual guide, Joshua, because you are sadly and dangerously misled.

        • I take it you didn’t do a study of evil love. Do yourself a favor and give it a go. It will help you understand.

        • Not a problem. Just one question. Will it matter that I do? I have explained on this blog that Leviticus 18 shows that the Lord God says that male with male intercourse is an abomination- toevah and that this is a sin not because of the levitical law but as the Lord God says it is a sin without the law. He judged to death nations before even Israel had the law and the very nations that were in the promised land that He was sending them to because of this sin and those people didn’t have the law either. The Lord God says in Leviticus 18 that the sin is so bad that it defiles the very ground. That’s why in the recount of the destruction of Sodom it says how God even overthrew not just the cities and people but the plains and all that grew on the ground. Ezekiel 16:50 abominations is toevah. leviticus 18:22 is abomination-toevah. Now if you don’t see this that is in scripture. Will me showing you evil love matter? However let me give you four examples from Jesus. If you then continue your own study I will help you by letting you know that to do a word search of love will avail little. It is found in context study except for a few instances.

          1 John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men have LOVED darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
          2 Matthew 10:37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more then me is not worthy of Me.”
          3 Matthew 8:21 “Then another of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me and let the dead bury their own dead.” + Luke 9:59-62 “Then He [Jesus] said to another, ‘Follow me.’ But he said,’Lord, let me first go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘ Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.’ And another also said, ‘Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.’”

          I will start with those. I have more. From Jesus in old and new testament. Remember Jesus identified Himself as the “I Am” Of the old testament. That is in John chapter 8. Good to read the whole chapter as Jesus has a great teaching on how not all people are the children of God but some are the children of the devil. Just saying you are a believer doesn’t mean much to Jesus. Especially since He warned us of those that will claim to be his followers but are not in Matthew 24:5. Jesus is not saying they are Him as a false Christ as he discusses that further in Matthew 24:24 but is identifying people to say that He [Jesus] is the Christ/Messiah but do so to mislead others. They are false brethren as is discussed in Galatians 2.

        • Joshua, you don’t know where I stand. I asked you a simple question. Not forcing you to answer, you decided to answer in your own way. But the “evil love” quote is a curious phrase that I don’t see in the bible. Maybe you can find an actual translation or transliteration of Greek or Hebrew that combines “evil love” together.

          Boy, you are a very defensive person and you come across as a pompous ass. Again, you don’t know where I stand and the “evil love” quote you lost it with me on that one. That phrase is curious to me. Sounds like adding to scripture as mentioned in Revelation 22:18-19.

        • Good evening to all. This post is not directed at any one person, any one comment, or any one response.

          I have read with interest the last week as the dialogue has continued about false teaching, if the Bible allows for same sex attraction, love, and physical relationships, etc. I offer these observations as a perspective to come together vs divide and berate. I apologize for the length of the post as well as any misspelling or improper sentence structure as I am typing on my cell phone. after talking aloud to myself and my wife in response to the posts these past few days I have to put my thoughts out there for consideration.

          First, I must say that I am of the same opinion of Linda and Mathew Vines in regards to LGBT involvement and acceptance in my church (Presbyterian Church USA denomination). I attended the Reformation Project this spring in Atlanta and heard Linda and her husband speak. I found one comment from a seminary professor that weekend very informative. He said that he stresses to all his students to think long and hard about what you are saying when you say “the Word of the Lord” as you quote scripture. The Bible has been interpreted and reinterpreted, translated and retranslated over and over and this has been done by man, who has agendas and is fallible. which Bible are we to quote and follow? There are so many versions and interpretations. I believe the Bible that the “Orthodox Christians” use has more books than the Catholic and Protestent Bibles currently used in the United States. This dates back to The Great Schism of 1054 when the Catholic Church broke away from the Orthodox theology. So with that perspective, are any of us here quoting the full and “Orginal Scripture”?

          I would argue it is subject to interpretation and your personal beliefs. The Gospels talk about the same general happenings but they focus on different perspectives, present different observations and level of detail. Regarding the Lord’s Prayer, I believe Mathew mentions debts and Luke mentions sins in their gospels. Is one more right than the other? In my church we say debts. Should I stand up in my neighbor’s church during the Lords Prayer and announce they are wrong because we debt and forgive our debtors and they sin and forgive those who sin against us, or can we come together and agree the general intent of praying to God, our acknowledgement that we have done wrong against others and that through the grace of God we ask for forgiveness?

          I can point to many people with Doctorate Degrees in Theology, people who are pastors at mainline Protestant Churches and professors of theology who agree with a pro LGBT interpretation, and who think the Bible is in favor of same sex marriage. I can even point to people that were against same sex marriage and LGBT inclusion but after long and prayerful thought and investigation of the scriptures and their belief in the meaning and context have changed their position. One such person that comes to mind is Rev. Mark Achtemeier as found in his book, The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart.

          I know the other side can point to those with equal credentials that support their position. I do not expect to change the opinion of those that do not agree with me and they will not change mine. I offer, it is an individual’s interpretation or at a broader perspective, one denomination’s interpretation on many issues including acceptance of LGBT people and activities. Many like Joshua and Mike do not share the interpretation I support, and that is fine. I do not share their interpretation. Yet I can respect them for their discernment and careful consideration of their beliefs and all I ask is they respect mine while they disagree. I hope we can politely agree to disagree with out condemnation and inflammatory rhetoric.

          Let’s take for a moment 3 items that are important to many Christian denominations but have different understanding, doctrine and implementation in Christian life. 1) Communion (The Eucharist as my Catholic friends refer to it) 2) Baptisim, and 3) Confession of Sin

          1) Communion – This is an item that presents signifigant differences between denominations. as a Presbyterian, we receive communion typically once a month and believe that the elements ( bread and wine) are symbolic of Christ’s body and blood. My Catholic friends believe in Transubstantiation in which the bread and wine are not a symbol but become in reality the body and blood of Christ. My understanding of the Catholic faith is they generally believe that one must be baptized in that faith and accept Transubstantiation to receive Communion. In my church we welcome all that are baptized and believe to the table. Who is right? Who is wrong? Does one faith have to be right and one wrong? does it really matter? Or can we all agree that regardless of how we receive the Lord’s Supper we are all celebrating a bigger ideal, the ideal that Jesus suffered, died and rose for us all?

          2) Baptisim – There is a large difference in believe regarding when and how a person is and should be baptized. In my denomination we baptize during our normal Sunday worship services. The parents make vows and the congregation make vows to teach and nurture the child in the faith. Many Presbyterians wait to have their children baptized. Many of my Catholic friends have told me the Baptisim of their children happened in a private ceremony and as quickly after birth as possible. In my parents Baptist church I was dedicated as an infant but Baptisim was to happen later when I was old enough to understand the meaning of it. Again, is one right and one wrong? Or can we all join in unison singing a song celebrating the Sacrament of Baptisim for all God’s children regardless of age “Child of blessing, child of promise Baptized with the Spirit’s sign, with this water God has sealed you unto love and grace divine. Child of joy our dearest treasure, God’s you are, from God you came, back to God we humbly give you: Live as one who bears Christ’s name.” Is that underlying theme not more important than how we differ in implementation?

          3) Confession of Sin and entry to Heaven. My Catholic friends confess their sins through a Priest where as a Presbyterian I confess my sins corporately during our weekly worship service. again very different, but who of any of us is in a place to judge if one approach is right or wrong? The Presbyterian denomination believes in Predestination which means ” the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man.” We believe that those that are predetermined to enter heaven do so through God’s pleasure, grace and mercy regardless to any human worth or action while those he excludes from eternal life are excluded by just and blameless, but also incomprehensible judgement. Many other denominations believe that through your own actions, inactions and through repentance and confession the individual can have an impact on who is granted eternal life. Again who is to say your believe is any more right or wrong than mine? Yet I am willing to bet all of us that hold a belief in Christian faith confess our sins and seek pardon and the grace of God in some fashion.

          So why do I take so much time to write these down. Not to bore any of you, nor to preach. I offer this to point out that we all have much more in faith that connects us vs divides us. I have witnessed congrations in my presbytery decide to leave the denomination because of one or two issues. yet we share so much when we gather together to feed the poor, when we help the homeless, tutor and support children, and when we all gather on a Sunday in different houses of worship to praise God and all he has given us.

          My minister at my home church in Rochester, NY preached last week for what many Protestent denominations call World Communion Sunday. paraphrasing, he said

          “we matter because God has determined that we do, not because of who we are, not because of of what we do, not because of our beliefs or piety. It is God’s doing. We should remember that. As we approach the Table, we should remember it’s promise, it’s hospitality, and it’s vision that it is a place for you, for me, a place for everyone born. Because Jesus was flesh and blood, a person that lived amoung us, who experienced life as we all do, and invites us into a relationship with God, he is not ashamed to call any of us brothers and sisters. ”

          He ended with this. ” And God, who is not ashamed of us – you or me – will delight when we are creators of justice and joy, ”

          In that same spirit, I hope we can focus on those things that bring us together such as living out the promise in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ” (KJV)

          wishing you all peace and God’s blessings

        • Jeff:

          What a beautiful post; well done.

          I don’t know whether you happen to have read some of my prior posts, so, let me state up front I am not a Christian nor a member of any religion. Nor am I an agnostic or atheist. Rather, I am a believer in a universal God that is the very definition of Creation. Nonetheless, we live in a religion dominated world and I am part of that world. Think of me as a Unitarian of a universal creation that is the deity.

          I have one addition to your thoughts, an exception; I am not saying these are or should be your thoughts too, rather, a point for consideration. Indeed the Bible has many accepted editions/versions with some fairly significant divergent translations. And, as you point out, even within any particular version, there are variations of scriptures from one gospel to another. My favorite example in recognizing inter-gospel differentiation is only John quotes Jesus’ call for his disciples to love one another as he [Jesus] loves them as “A new Commandment [give unto you]…”. John 13:34.

          Though there is one significant exception (while there are many variations among denominations and bible editions, the gist is remarkably the same), and that exception is the Ten Commandments. For true believers, the Ten Commandments were written in stone by God and given to Moses. The literal words of God. Not messages through angles or revelation, nor teachings or Christian philosophy. But words written in stone by God himself.

          For all the hyperbole of those who claim the great sin of homosexuality, particularly for those who claim homosexuality is the greatest of all sins against God, it is those who make these claims who violate the Commandment not to take the name of God in vain. God’s words are God’s Word; to make false claims, to preach otherwise, in His Name, is the very essence of taking God’s name in vain.

          In the Ten Commandments, God is quite clear, literally, what are the sins against Him. Believers can argue about whether the Sabbath must be observed on Saturdays or Sundays or if any other particular day of the week fulfills the Commandment. Believers can argue about whether killing is always a sin, or whether it is limited to murder. Believers can argue whether unrequited lust is coveting.

          Joshua Francis and Mike Miller (other commentators here) can write all they want, quote all the scriptures they wish, but they cannot sustain the simply fact-of-the-matter that what God chose to put into written stone, God does not make rise of homosexuality in any manner. Indeed, God makes no rise of how His children should live and love except for those He himself inscribed in stone. Importantly, He does not require marriage nor of begetting issue, but He is explicitly clear what duties to God you owe should you choose marriage and having children.

          One does not need to be a Christian to take the love of Jesus into one’s heart. For me, everything in the Bible can be and should be reduced to the utter basis of Jesus’ words “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” And that as that is my standard, there is no sin of homosexuality. None whatsoever.

        • Does not require marriage? # 7 you shall not commit adultery. Need marriage to commit adultery. #10 thou shall not covet thy neighbors wife. Look there a reference to a wife. Sounds like man and woman? If God wanted same sex marriage then seems He only cares about the lesbians and heterosexuals and not male homosexuals. Or is that there is only male and female marriage even in the 10 commandments. Reply for falsely calling me out.

        • Joshua Francis,

          While I assume you were referring to Mike when you state reply for falsely calling you out, I would like to reply myself. I am currently looking at my Bible. This version is the American Patriot’s Bible (NKJV). Quoting exactly from Exodus 20:17 my version states

          “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

          I read that as my friend at church, who is gay and married to a man, shall not covet either individual of the other married gay couple that sit in pew in front of us, for They are each other’s through their marriage. A marriage that is legal by law and blessed and approved of in my church.

          What if my neighbor is a single female, She may covet me as a male, but the commandment does not say …nor covet your neighbor’s husband. But yet I believe she should not covet my wife’s husband.

          In fact I believe the commandment should also be interpreted to apply to my not coveting my neighbor’s wife not just because of lust or sexual design or desire but because her family comes from money and she has a nice trust fund from grandma. It would be wrong for me to wish and dream of what life would be like if only I had her as my wife and not my current wife. I would not have to work and I would drive a new sports car all the time, but alas my wife comes from a family of teachers who struggle to make ends meet and will never leave her a trust fund and I must work. I will not have that new shiny sports car in the driveway. But for me to think and dream of what that would be like and to be envious of my neighbor for marrying into money and having those opportunities would be coveting and wrong.

          Regarding the adultry passage, I agree if in a marriage one should not commit adultry, and I and my church believe that applies to a male-female marriage as well as a same sex marriage. Again, my church accepts and actually allows our ministers to officiate at same sex marriages and allows them to bless that union no differently than a male-female marriage.

          Again my point, I do not agree with your interpretation and you do not agree with mine. My church
          Does not agree with your interpretation and I would assume your church or group you worship with do not agree with my church’s. That is fine and within each of our rights to disagree. Thank God we are here in the United States where we are free to believe what we want! There are people all over the world being persecuted and dying because they are Christian, or because they hold one Muslim sect’s opinion and interpretation of Islam while another sect has a different belief.

          There is so much more that we can agree upon isn’t there? Can’t we politely agree to disagree and focus everyone’s limited energy and resources on making this a better world for all? A world where ALL are welcomed in peace and harmony, a world where we end discrimination, bigotry, war, hunger, disease, and hatred toward our fellow humans. A world where each of us can worship in our own way, within our own beliefs, including those that choose not to worship or believe at all. I believe we all desire these things for the world because we LOVE as Jesus taught us to LOVE unconditionally. We are taught to love the world and all that are in it, be that love of a man and a woman, a parent and a child, and I believe same sex partner to same sex partner.

          I was asked one day what is my favorite scripture reading other than John 3:16. I quickly replied without hesitation, 1 Corinthians Chapter 13. In the end I think that summarizes the teachings of Jesus completely. A reading that I and many people have had read at their wedding and one I would be proud to read at any of my gay and lesbian friend’s marriage ceremonies for I believe it applies to their love as well.

          13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

          4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

          8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

          11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

          13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

          Joshua, blessings and love to you my friend.

        • And therein Joshua is the false logic and twisting of verse you exploit in your deceitful and sinful judgment of others. The Commandment is “Thou shalt not commit adultery”; Not “Though shalt marry.” This is not nitpicking; God established a rule of conduct for those who CHOSE to marry, elsewise, every Catholic priest and nun is violating the Commandment, and that is hogwash (marrying Jesus does not count since, per you, marriage is between is one man and one woman). There is a concrete separation between encouraging the choice of marriage and denying the choice of celibacy.

          The second commandment you cite is as ridiculously argued. Indeed, God commands “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” That commandment applies only in cases when the neighbor has CHOSEN to be married. The Commandment does not say that the neighbor MUST marry; the Commandment applies WHEN the neighbor is married. And the commandment applies irrespective of whether the sinner is married or not.

          My response is not directed at you; rather to those who read your posts so that they become aware is how flawed your theology is. Just like you twisted scripture that Jesus’ condemning a priority of love of spouse, children or parents over God as a teaching of “evil love”. And then applying “evil love” as a broad litmus of all conduct you cherry pick from your cafeteria of Bible verse. I will not engage with you, but I will warn others of your false teachings. When you point your finger at blasphemy, be looking in the mirror.

        • You said in your message to Jeff “God makes no rise of how His Children should live and love except for those He Himself inscribed in stone” In those on stone which are also in the Bible and the stones are gone it points to who God allows to marry if they so choose. That was my point. Sorry if I was unclear. May have been a little confusion about your letter on my part. However, that said my point still stands. God in the 10 commandments recognizes marriage. Man and woman only. Adultery commandment speaks to marriage. Which would also speak to sin outside of marriage. Coveting speaks to the men directly and their neighbors wife. If homosexual marriage was allowed then why not tell the men to just not covet their neighbors partner or spouse etc. You can bad mouth me and my correct teachings all day. But you still can’t show me homosexual marriage from God anywhere in Scripture or the ten commandments. They all speak against it.

        • You are right, Joshua, in that the Bible does NOT say anything in support of committed, lifelong, monogamous gay marriages. It doesn’t. Committed, lifelong, monogamous gay marriages didn’t exist in either the times of the Old or New Testament. Sex outside of marriage did, and especially sex between heterosexual men and their young male slaves – THAT was rampant. It is my belief, and the belief of many scholars, theologians and pastors, that the practice of sex between masters (masters were always male) and male slaves is clearly forbidden. I am not a scholar, theologian or pastor (I don’t think you are, either – correct me if I am wrong), so I am not going to continue to argue with you here. If you read Dr. James Brownson’s Bible, Gender, Sexuality, he covers this at great depth. He is a brilliant man – both a New Testament Scholar and Theologian, and a committed Christian.
          Lastly, just because the Scripture doesn’t explicitly approve of something doesn’t mean that the Bible forbids it…there are countless things that we as Christians approve us that the Bible doesn’t speak about, because the Bible was written in a very different time.

          I doubt that you and I will ever agree on whether or not God blesses same-sex marriages, but how about we decide to stack hands on what Jesus said in Matthew 22 when someone asked him which of the many laws was the greatest:

          “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

          Paul restates this in Galatians 5:
          “For the ENTIRE law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

          And, earlier in Galatians 5, Paul says,
          “The ONLY thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

          If all of us, as Christians, focused on expressing our faith in God by loving others, just think what we could do! We could feed the hungry all over the world, find every foster child a permanent home, ensure that nobody had to live on the streets…there would be no end to the what we could do if we just stopped arguing over things that are NOT the central issue and get back to focusing on what really is.
          I am praying that you will deeply know how much you are loved by the Creator, Joshua.

        • Mike,

          Thank you for taking the time to read my post and for your thoughtful response. Your comments resonate strongly with me. You present another perspective I had not considered! Indeed, the Ten Commandments are such a broad and strong foundation to build a discussion such as this or any other discussion of Christian Theology and beliefs upon.

          Thank you

  4. Linda
    This is trully beautiful. Others will be able to heal their relationship with their children. I have a gay brother who came out when he was about 16. All we did was to love him. He was the same person to us. I hope that you and your family can find healing through it all. Love is always here. 💗💗

  5. This story is very important to me.
    Through it all my life, unfortunately my father and mother are gone, but never offered me some love even before they go .. my current family, brothers and sisters, run away from them, as if is nobody .. ..
    thank you for helping me, I keep trying to follow my life, despite all the problems and issues that have, today I know that I live by myself, and so I’m still living ….

  6. Linda don’t feel guilty about what happened with your son. Despite the results everything happened as it should as you grew is wisdom and your son as a spirit served his purpose by being born as a gay male. Everything here is about spiritual learning through experience. Everything God built and created was made on the foundation of love. This is who all of us are. Where your son is today as a spirit there is only pure unconditional love and joy

  7. Linda i hope you are reading this because i would love this message to get to you: i hope the rest of your life to be horrible, you are a murdering piece of shit. all these morons saying supportive crap, you should have tought about consecuencies before it was too late, you killed a poor boy, as lot of other pieces of shit that have the cynicism to call themselves mothers, and if your god for whom you kill your son exists i would to see you for all eternity in heaven as you see your son suffer for the same ammount of time for what you think is a sin, you rotten crap.

    rest in peace, poor ryan, i’m so sorry for all you had to endure.

      • Dear Linda,
        As I’m sure you’ve ascertained, I have not (yet) come to a place where I agree with your present positions concerning homosexuality. That said, I’ve enormous compassion for the painful journey that you & yours have traveled. I’m thankful you posted Santi’s comment. It gives everyone some idea as to the hateful & illogical rhetoric you’ve chosen to endure in order to stand up for what you believe in. I respect you for that.
        When I was boy, I had a problem with bedwetting… a problem that persisted well into junior high school. My parents went through 3 distinct phases in dealing with my bed wetting. In my early grade school years (stage 1), the were patient, thinking I’d soon grow out of it. Then “stage 3” was characterized by resigned capitulation. They just gave up trying to change it, and we all did our best to live with it as respectfully & compassionately as we could. In about 9th grade, I did outgrow it. But I’ve yet to tell you of “stage 2.” Stage 2 was characterized by my folks doing all the could to fix my problem. They tried no water for 1 hour before bedtime, then no water after dinner ’til bedtime (3-4 hrs). (This actually bordered on cruel, as I grew up in relatively poor suburban Dallas where 6 months of the year it’s quite warm. We had no air-conditioning ’till I was maybe 9 or 10.) But then they tried something that really scarred me for some time. They had sent me to some kind of doctor who said my bedwetting was a discipline problem, and he had the “right” equipment for the “right” therapy. Every night I had to sleep on an electrified screen about the size of a pillow case (which we put inside a pillow case. When I would pee my bed in the middle of the night, a loud beeping buzzer would go off, waking everyone in the house. My folks would get me out of bed and then make me change my own sheets (with a little help from mom) before I could get back in bed to sleep. This sometimes happened multiple times in any one night, and went on for over a year before my folks gave it up.
        Today this sounds barbaric & cruel. But it wasn’t. My folks are, and always have been very loving parents. They were doing what they thought at the time to be right and best for me. I know that now, if I didn’t know it then. I feel pretty safe assuming that Ryan knew the same of you and your husband.
        To borrow a line from a movie, “There is no way to be a perfect parent. But there are a million ways to be a really, really good parent.” Love endures our mistakes, even when we don’t agree on what were the mistakes.
        Mike Miller

        • Mike…I was lying in bed this morning, before church, thinking about your comments over the past few months, and I want to tell you that I respect you for the courage to voice your perspectives here, where you know that you’ll get attacked for them. From what I can see, you are honestly wrestling with questions and truly desire to figure out if there is a way to affirm gay marriage while remaining faithful to Christ. What you are doing is so much more than many conservative Christians, who are too scared to even consider a different perspective from the one they’ve been taught (as I was, for many years). I was listening to a fascinating podcast recently on civility in the gay marriage debate, and one of the speakers said that there is a strong relationship between civility and doubt; he suggested that it takes people being willing to admit that they might be wrong in order to allow for truly respectful debate and disagreement. I see that in you, Mike, and I appreciate it and respect it. I am thankful for you.

        • Linda,
          Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I do have doubts… about many things. I’ve been wrong so many times in my life that I’d be a fool to think that now “I’ve got it all figured out.” I like the link between “doubt” & “civility” that you reference, although I’d use another word to characterize the root of my attempts towards civility. Humility… a character trait that I believe to be the essential Christian virtue.
          One correction I’d like to make in your observations of me, however. You state: “From what I can see, you are honestly wrestling with questions and truly desire to figure out if there is a way to affirm gay marriage while remaining faithful to Christ.” I agree with your statement if you replace “gay marriage” with “active homosexuality.” The “gay marriage” issue, I view as separate and distinct.

    • Santi: if you cannot allow a sinner to learn and grow, there would never be movement toward righteousness. You have it right in that the Robertsons sinned against their son and their faith. But that is the purpose of this blog, the Robertsons exposing their sins in hope to inform and educate other anti-gay sinners to the terrible results that can and do happen.

      I first started donating money and efforts for same-sex marriage back in 1994, when the first winning test case won in Hawaii. The negativeness faced twenty years ago was horrifying — even HRC refused to support the effort as being too aggressive. We even faced horrifying backlash from the Democrats in Congress who also overwhelmingly supported DADT and DOMA. But as our side did not give up on perusing our God-given right to our pursuit of our happiness, the majority of Americans, yes a slim majority but growing, have eschewed bigotry and embraced equality.

      The Robertsons will spend every day of the rest of their lives living in the hell they themselves created — the responsibility for the death of their son. They rightly suffer from their sins; nonetheless, their efforts to help others avoid the terribleness that happens to children hounded by anti-gay bigotry is a win. It is efforts like these that have made the changes.

      When I met my now husband 29 years ago, I never imagined we would ever to able to marry. We have lived together as a couple the entire time and were married 7 years ago. Again, this change in attitude and support has only been achieved because those who were once anti-gay bigots have moved up from their sins. We will never have full equality until even more and more, until a vast majority, also move from bigotry to equality.

  8. Id like to take an opportunity here to tell you all just what the Robertsons have done for me. Not too long ago i was suicidal believing I was going to hell for being a lesbian. Then God led me to this blog and their story. Since then, the Robertsons sent me the book Torn, Rescuing the Gospel From The Gays-VS.-Christians Debate, for free. Just the right read for what I was going through. They have connected me with the Gay Christian Network, so now I don’t feel so all alone. They have even sent me to other bloggers, where one article was titled “Did Sexual Abuse Make me gay?”. A question I had for years finally put to rest. Also, because I am working on a book, Linda has sent me to other authors she knows where I have been given the best of advice. The most important help they have given me is life altering. I am no longer standing on the edge of this life and the next, my head filled with thoughts of checking out. I had even been hospitalized for being suicidal and the thoughts that I could not be both gay and a christian had the rope around my neck every hour of the day. I can honestly say that rope is gone and that heaviness has eased. I love God and God loves me. Just the way he made me.

    I love the Robertsons

    Maria C

    • Maria, thank you for heartfelt response. The Robinson’s have done so much good in sharing their pain and what they have learned in the process. I’m so glad you found them and you have your life back; so happy you didn’t succeed in the suicidal thoughts! The Robinson’s changed my life as a mom of a gay son. I was brainwashed by the church and they began by journey into enlightenment. We are not here to judge, but to love. I’m so happy for you!

    • The Robertson’s helped me too when I was in a similar situation you were in. I didn’t let them know then, just simply reading/listening to their story helped. They were that small glimmer of hope in a hopeless time, and it gave me the courage to keep going.

      • That glimmer of hope is life changing. Somebody befriended me on Facebook yesterday and then asked if I would pray for her. She then asked if she could be more specific. I told her of course. Then she asked me to pray for her because she is stuck in the sin of homosexuality. ONLY BECAUSE of what Linda has shown me, was I able to talk open and honestly with my new friend and share how I found Gods love for me, just as He created me. I am finally able to give back the love and advice that was so kindly given to me.

  9. Linda,
    You’ve made it clear that you believe the way you & your husband dealt with Ryan initially was a mistake. There are many who agree with you. There are also many who believe that your present position of unambiguously supporting & affirming homosexuality is a mistake.
    I can’t help but wonder if both of these groups aren’t mistaken. Consider the following possibility.

    I’ve spent the entirety of my professional life with one foot in the “working world” and one foot in academia (hard science). I’ve served as committee member on post-Doctoral research, lectured at universities from coast to coast, had my work published in scientific journals, and sat in on countless post-Doctoral thesis defenses, where the most common refrain is, “What’s your reference on that, Doctor?” I’ve done all this with only an A.A.S. (a 2-year Associate’s degree).
    I tell you this not to impress. I am in the sunset of my career, and I don’t care about professional accolades anymore. I tell you this to give you some insight as to how my mind works. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life separating, and drawing a distinct line between fact and opinion.
    These thought processes in my professional domain transfer very well to the spiritual domain. Let me try to explain what I mean.

    In the hard sciences, certainty can only exist where the facts prove that certainty repeatedly. When the facts appear to point towards a particular conclusion (a certainty), but fall short of proving that conclusion (repeatedly), then we’re left with a theory. These theories aren’t based on pure speculation; they are based on evidence, but they are still theories. Now, the evidence may be so overwhelming that it requires very little faith to support the theory… but, if we are to embrace the humility of intellectually honesty, a small degree of faith is still required.

    In the spiritual realm, we cannot prove that God exists. We cannot prove that Jesus was the Son of God. There are many things about Christianity that we cannot prove. To believe & support the Gospel of Jesus Christ, faith is required. The words of the Bible repeatedly confirm this. Yet, when we know for sure, where there is no doubt, where there is certainty, no faith is required.

    You’ve mentioned to me the positive attributes associated with doubt. I’ve ascribed very similar attributes to humility. Where there is doubt or humility, a degree of faith is required.

    In my career, I’ve spent much of my time as a teacher. Any teacher will confirm that the receptiveness of students to your teaching is directly proportional to teacher credibility. Teachers within any specific domain are not all knowing. One of the best ways to secure and maintain teacher credibility is to have the courage & intellectual honesty to say these 3 words, “I don’t know”, or “I’m not certain.”

    You and your husband appear to have been certain in your advice to Ryan when he first “came out.” You appear to be equally certain with your advocacy now… with a message 180 degrees opposed to your initial message to Ryan. Where there is certainty, there is no doubt, or humility… or a need for faith.

    I wonder. Are you making the same mistake now, as you made then? Was the real mistake not in being anti-gay or pro-gay, but in being certain? I wonder, but I do not know.
    Food for thought.


    • Mike, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree wholeheartedly with your statement about doubt and humility both requiring faith. And I also agree that it was a mistake, in the years after Ryan came out, to not question our position.

      The thing is, I am not certain that we are currently 100% correct. I’ve often questioned our perspective. Could we be wrong now? Absolutely. Rob and I both are very aware that we could be wrong; we are, at the same time, at peace with God in this. We’ve arrived where we are due to His leading, or at least our perception of His leading. If we’ve misinterpreted that leading, and we find out when we stand before Him that we were wrong, we are both okay with that. Our motive is love…and the fact that we believe strongly that the Kingdom of God is advanced by love and inclusion, as Jesus so beautifully demonstrated. We are at peace with that.

      Praying that God will give you the same peace, Mike…

      • Dear Linda,

        I searched out & watched one of your YouTube videos today. I’m not ashamed to say that tears were rolling down my face. I have so much empathy for you & your family (including Ryan). I have never lost a child, but I have personally witnessed the agony of loved ones who have. In 1999, we lost my little sister at a young age to cancer. Her initial diagnosis came as a shock to the family. She was already stage 4, and was only given 6 months to live. She lived 6 months to the day, and then died an ugly & horrible death. In the last 6 months of her life, I had prepared myself for her death as best I could. Watching her succumb to death was very, very painful. But I had prepared myself for that inevitability. What I hadn’t prepared myself for was how the experience would shatter my parents, and my surviving brother & sister. Watching them crumble under the weight of excruciating heartbreak blindsided me, and was far more difficult to bear than my beloved sister’s death. Her pain was over. Theirs had only intensified.

        Since my son has “come out” to us some months back, I’ve thought & prayed about little else. I haven’t known how to be with him, or what to say to him. He is my only child, whom I love dearly, and I’m afraid to talk with him. I don’t want to hurt him. I don’t want my words to drive us apart. Yet, I know he desperately wants my approval. All children want that from their parents. In my mind, disapproval of homosexuality does not amount to disapproval of him. Yet, I also know that’s how it would be perceived by him. So, I remain largely quiet on the topic- neither affirming nor critical- as I seek reconciliation & understanding. But I know that my distant silence is not sustainable, and is not good for our relationship. My son is not stupid, and in his mind, I suspect that my distance amounts to silent criticism.

        I find it ironically coincidental that Ryan’s favorite color was orange. My son’s favorite color is also orange. He’s claimed orange as his favorite since he was a small child. From time to time over the years, I’ve casually wondered if his affinity for orange may not portend differences between us. My favorite has always been purple, which is nearly opposite on the color wheel.

        I thank you for your prayers.

        • You’ve got them, Mike…big time. And you’ve got my respect; so many parents don’t even come close to doing the questioning that you are doing…I know I didn’t for YEARS. Blessings to you, my friend.

  10. this is pathetic. whats the purpose of this? crowd sourcing forgiveness? nobody’s pity will bring ryan back – nor he can love you again as a mother or a family. ryan is definitely in a better place. cause any place is better than a bunch of freaks judging someones sexuality with the ideology of a whore’s son. neither this blog nor any other online suffering will make you a good person. you wont make it to heaven by admitting a murder. cause there is no place called heaven. and there is nothing called god. if there was one ryan wouldn’t be born to your family..

    • Leontes, I am definitely NOT looking for anyone’s forgiveness here. Not even close. The only person who I needed forgiveness from was Ryan, and he gave it to me. The purpose is to share our story in hopes that other families won’t make the same mistake.
      I wish you well.

  11. This is my second post but wanted to mention that there is a book that has been out for a long time that was about near death experiences of gay and lesbian people who clinically died and visited heaven and came back. While there they were loved and accepted without conditions and their sexual orientation meant nothing. It was pure unconditional love from the Light. I think being gay is a part of that person’s life path for a higher purpose. In spirit we neither have a gender or sexual orientation. It is just a human experience

      • Hi Maria. The name of the book is called Crossing Over And Coming Back written by Liz Dale. Also I will provide a link to a major near death site which has a section that discusses some of the cases from the book. It has been a long time since I read it but from what I can remember it was a very enjoyable read and anyone who is gay or lesbian and is especially dealings feelings of unworthiness or shame should read it. Here is a link to read some of the stories. They are very comforting http://www.near-death.com/dale.html

        • Thanks for the reply Tom. Just ordered the book off of amazon and the website is amazing!!! I cant tell you how excited I am for the read! Maria

    • If an angel tells you a different gospel than I preach let them be cursed. Paul the Apostle who said only the marriage bed of one man and one woman is undefiled and that any sex outside of that is sin wrote that. Jesus also said the same thing first about marriage first. Stop doing the works of your father the devil and repent. You are working to send people to hell.

  12. Hi Linda,

    My name is Joe, I am a 17 yr old gay teen living in the Northeast. I am in a very similar situation as your son was. I am currently a senior in high school and came out to my parents a year and a half ago, at the beginning of my junior year. We are Orthodox Christian, and my parents are politically/socially conservative. When I came out to them, they did not react well. Both parents distanced themselves from me, lessened the amount of conversation we had, and were always in a bad/ambivalent mood. I knew I couldn’t go on living with them like this forever, so I had various conversations with them both about what they were feeling. They both expressed their unconditional love for me and assured me that that would never change. Yet as much as they expressed their love for me, they said that they could not accept and understand the gay “aspect” of me. While I don’t believe that my sexuality Defines who I am, it still is an intrinsic part of me. To think that some aspect of me (that I cannot control) is causing displeasure and negativity in the relationship I have with my parents is honestly sickening and has caused me to become depressed. I do, at times, have thoughts of suicide (although these are thoughts I would never act on). My parents have tried numerous times to explain to me why it is difficult for them to accept this; they talk about how ever since I was born, they’ve only imagined one life path for me which consists of “living a straight lifestyle”. According to them, my coming out as gay has – in effect – robbed them from having the straight son they had envisioned a life for for 16 years. My parents also further their discussion by expressing their concern that I will fall into the apparent stereotype of increased promiscuity amongst those that “live a gay lifestyle”. I personally have never been aware of such a stereotype ever since my parents expressed their concern about it, and can’t help but feel offended that me being promiscuous is a concern of theirs (simply because I’m gay). My parents so desperately love me, I do know this much. They go above and beyond to support me, expose me to new things, and teach me valuable lessons. However, a big part of me still does not believe that this love is entirely complete. Because of their expressed disapproval and lack of understanding towards my sexuality, I feel a draining sense of emptiness from within. Not until this past year have I truly felt what it is like to have a hole in one’s heart. As I mentioned earlier, the thought that I am involuntarily a disappointment to my parents makes me sick and depressed and at times forces me to question if I can carry on living any longer. No matter how much I plead, reason, or cry, my parents respond with the same set of statements that only to continue to eat away at me further. I have a therapist that I have been talking to for the past year (since last spring). In theory, she is a fantastic resource because her job is to work with Orthodox Christian high school and college students that are struggling as homosexual individuals in this very unique religious/cultural community/family dynamic. In reality, however, I find that our meetings aren’t very helpful. I suppose it’s always helpful and healthy to talk things out and it’s comforting to know that I can unload my thoughts on to someone, but I honestly feel that in the full year that I’ve been meeting with her, I haven’t really progressed in terms of my mental/emotional/psychological well-being. I’m so sorry that I’ve written so much in this message, but I feel as if the situation I am currently in is very rarely paralleled by other people (at least it’s been difficult to find any similar situations online). I am hoping my parents can soon reach the level of acceptance at which you are currently, but until then, I am seeking advice as to how I should cope with this situation, and perhaps advice on what to say to my parents. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and I truly look forward to your counseling and advice.

    Best regards,

    • Joe – I am honored that you would share your own story here. I can’t reply now, but I will be praying for you and thinking about your questions. I will get back to you within a few days…I hope that is okay. Much love to you, Joe.

    • Joe, hang in there. My son came out to us and, I guess, we are very similar to your parents. After the initial shock, we have given him unconditional love. I wrote a song that you may want to share with your parents. It captures everything my son told me that day. Go to You tube and type In the Matters of Love Cemari m.youtube.com/watch?v=7k0SupE175g Please share it with your friends.

    • Hi Joe!
      I am the mother of a gay son. He is 28 yrs old now. He came out to us 3 yrs ago. At first, I was overwhelmed with emotion, but I can not begin to tell you how God has walked with me through out this journey, and I have completely changed my mind and views of the LGBT+ community. I would absolutely LOVE to be an extra set of ears for you whenever you need it. Try your best not to give up hope on your parents. If I can change, anybody can :-)) I now attend PFLAG meetings (which have helped so much), and I found an Inclusive church to attend. The more LGBT people I get to know, the more I realize I was sold so many untruths. God has truly given me such a heart for this community. The biggest help has been educating myself through literature etc. I have many resources I can suggest for your parents if they want to learn more. Give them time to absorb some of this–it is a process, in the meantime, I am more concerned about YOU. You sound like an amazing young man and I would love to be your friend. Pls email me at bbaswell1@gmail.com We will walk through all fo this together—you are not alone. Linda is a dear friend of mine. I hope you will be too. Much Love–Beth

    • Joe – please hang in there. I am the mother of a 20-year-old gay son, and I won’t lie, it rocked our world when he came out. But, we have researched and prayed, and are now able to truly back and accept our son 100%. As far as a your parents’ vision, all parents have that, and at some point have to learn to let it go. Because, regardless of sexual orientation or anything else, their child will almost always follow their own path. With you being 17, this is part of the growing up process.

      There are many other teens that are going through exactly what you are going through now. You are not alone. I would encourage you to link in with organizations like the Gay Christian Network, that will help you connect with others for help and moral support.

      Know you are in my prayers, and the prayers of many others. You are loved by God, and are fearfully and wonderfully made in his image.

    • Joe,

      I think you’re amazing for being who you are. Right now your parents are trapped in their own world and upbringing that did not include loving and accepting someone for who they are. Unconditional love does not stop when a person comes out as gay, lesbian, bi, trans, queer, or intersex. Its funny how many people say “I don’t care, as long as my child comes out healthy and happy” and then the child comes out as GLBTQIA and suddenly the kid’s parents are not so loving. You’re a good person. Your sexual orientation is not a “lifestyle”. Its part of who you are. Don’t let anyone try to tell you different. I would suggest maybe going to a GLBT center in your neighborhood. Also…drop a PFLAG pamphlet on your parents night table. They could use some education and support themselves.


    • Joe, I read your whole post and the last part made me think about how sometimes we parents can react with mixed messages when our kids tell us they are gay. Part of what your parents may be feeling is fear. There is fear of the unknown. There is fear of what people will say. There is fear about your safety. There is fear about their dreams for you. I get that. I grew up in the church and I am politically and socially conservative as well. My son came out at 13. It was difficult at first. I was numb and my wife was in denial. But after a few months I realized that even though my oldest son who is 14 is openly gay, I cannot change him. That is another fear probably of your parents because of counseling for over a year. Fear can paralyze people. It sounds like your parents are at best, wanting to accept you but not wanting to accept this part because of the fear that they see that can be based on the past. They may have a viewpoint of gays based when HIV and AIDS was on tv so much during the 1980’s. They may see gays in a negative light because of extremes in gay parades. Who knows for sure. I will tell you how it became easier for my wife and I to accept our gay son. We saw a good change in him once he came out. He also focused on what teens focused on and not so much his sexuality. He has not demanded nor argued about gay rights and he has not given us ultimatums. (We do support him when he has a boyfriend and if he gets married.) He has told us just like you have mentioned that being gay is part of who he is but it does not define him. He focuses on things like college and hopes and dreams for the future. In the end, our son was truthful with himself and us. He has support from school mates and kids in the church. I believe if my son was writing you instead of me he would probably say just being honest and taking a risk with your parents is very brave. My son was not sure what we would do. By the fact that your parents have allowed you to stay may be a sign that possibly deep down they accept you. They may not know how to express it. They need to realize that if you are a faithful son who is fairly obedient do they want to lose you because you identify as gay? I will pray for you and your parents and I hope their hearts are softened towards you and also that God puts Christian parents in their path who have gay children that they love and accept.

    • Joe,

      You are a wonderfully articulate young man. Your parents obviously raised you well and sound like two good folks who’ve had their world rocked and simply aren’t sure how to “right” it at the moment. I can relate to them, only because I responded in a similar fashion when my son came out at 17. It wasn’t because I didn’t love him or was ashamed of him – far from it – but because I’d heard the typical Christian James Dobson-esque rhetoric that he was gay because of faulty parenting. MY faulty parenting. MY overbearing parenting. According to Dobson, my son was gay because of my HUSBAND’S faulty parenting. HIS passivity. And so on, and so on. While none of this is true, of course, I was brainwashed into thinking it was. So when he told me that he was gay, I immediately blamed myself and my husband. I immediately hated myself. I was immediately filled with fear and shame that God was displeased with me as a mom and my husband as a dad. It took a long, long, long, long time for me to get past that. Believe it or not, 6 years out, I can still fall back into that blame-shame cycle when I read some of the hyper-conservative opinions that circulate on the web. I can’t help but wonder if maybe your folks are scared that they are responsible for your being gay. And that’s a heavy, heavy burden to bear when you’re a Christian who has believed all those lies. Have you been able to engage them in that aspect at all? It was important for me to have that conversation with my son and to hear that my husband and I were not to “blame” for his being gay, like it was something bad/wrong.

      The other moms have encouraged you to hang in there, and I’m doing the same. My son, his dad, and I have a wonderful relationship and have had for a long while now. I made it clear that I wanted to ask lots of questions and get truthful answers from our son, which transformed the relationship (as education usually does), and my prayer is that your parents will get to that place. I think, right now, they are scared, Joe. They’ve probably believed a pack of lies about gay people and are trying to reconcile things without knowing where to turn. Fear is a tricky thing that colors everything else.

      Please keep trying to engage them and let them know that the relationship is important to you. If they can’t offer you their support and affirmation, then know that there are quite a few of us out here who can. I personally know Beth, who’s responded to you here and invited you to dialog with her, and there is no better support. Linda Robertson is another precious friend who will give you great comfort. And I am here for you, too. Please feel free to email me at carolinagirl84@bellsouth.net.

      Meanwhile, I will be praying for a ‘crack in the door’ – an opportunity for you to reach your parents’ hearts.

      Sending you a big hug,

    • Joe, you are so very mature and gracious…I’ve been thinking of you over the past few days and I am so impressed with the kind of man you are. I think many of the commenters here have given you great advice; I don’t know that I can give you better, but I did write a blog that was directed to this very issue…if you haven’t read it, check it out: https://justbecausehebreathes.com/2013/07/19/so-ive-come-out-to-my-christian-parentswhat-now/
      I will sure be praying for you and for your parents. Make a priority of taking care of YOURSELF (It sounds like your therapist is not a good fit, regardless that she is supposed to be. Try a different one – you should know within a session or two. If you aren’t walking away with a new realization or something you couldn’t have gained by yourself, it probably isn’t the right therapist for you. We’ve been to a LOT of counselors and our oldest daughter is one – I wouldn’t have been NEAR as patient as you have been!). You are the most important person in this situation right now…particularly because you can’t control how your parents respond. Hopefully, they will come around in time…but even if they don’t, God can DEFINITELY bless your life and use your life and you can THRIVE. Make that your priority, and let them watch and see the results. MUCH love to you, Joe! Let us know how you are doing! So many of us will be praying for you!

    • Joe, you sound like an amazing person, and like everyone else, I encourage you to hang in there. My gay son has been incredibly patient with me and his dad, even when it was hard for him. He has shown us what real grace looks like, and I admire him tremendously. Unfortunately, while we were figuring out our end of things, he felt like he was a disappointment to us. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      The only thing I’d add to the other comments is this: if your parents are open to talking with other Christian parents, it can really help them make progress. Linda can put them in touch with parents who are happy to share experiences. There are also supportive parents on the Marin Foundation website. Praying your parents will grow in their understanding. You are not alone, and your parents are not alone, either. Hugs to you.

    • Dear Joe, My heart aches for all of you. For years my husband and I rationalized and denied that our sons were gay, but when our daughter came out as well, we turned our broken hearts over to God. Searching His Word, starting with the “clobber” verses unbelievably brought peace. Further study brought even more peace. Today, we are affirming allies for the LGBTQ community. Jesus Christ loves you and died for you and you are fearfully and wonderfully made! It is hard for any of us to give up dreams and where our children are concerned, it is like a death. Give them the room to grieve right now. They do love you but they need, as a friend said, a paradigm shift. Grow in your love of God and your faith and watch Him change the world, even yours. He asks only your heart. He knew you when you were made in secret and He loves you and calls for you as you are! Believe that He is able to blossom you and work in your parent’s hearts. I can honestly say, there are hundreds of Mama Bears praying for you and loving you. Derry

    • Joe, I’m lifting you up in prayers. Looks like so many people you do not know care about you and are sending you lots of love. I’m sure this is very hard. Take each day at a time. Find things that make you happy and embrace it. Big hug from Ohio ♡
      Momma Bear, Lisa

    • Dear Joe, I recently came out to my mom and family and I am 58. Talking about being on time. But I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s the age of the AIDS scare. No one in the South would own up to being gay back then. So I have suffered in silence and alone for over 40 years. If you need a friend to bounce feelings off, I probably have done it. It would be nice to have a friend. I am glad you are reaching out. It is not good to suffer in silence like I did all those years.


  13. Hi Again Maria. I am glad I could help. I myself am very different from the mainstreams norms. I hetero but am a closet transvestite and also follow different spiritual beliefs but I would not want myself any other way. I believe everyone should be comfortable with who they are as long as it is not harmful to the self or others. I have no doubt God loves us just because we exist and that our soul essence is actually a part of God. I just read your original post and I am happy you have found peace and self acceptance. I believe you will love that book, Enjoy

  14. Hi all..
    Im verdi.. im 22yo..When i google about what parents tought if they have gay kids. Then i found ur letters to ur son. Im indonesian. And indonesian are mostly moslem. We are very closed minded about gay. And its very hard to live here as gay.. i cant barely think what i should say to my family about my sex orientation. My mom keep telling me to get marriage. Its so stressful. Then a month ago i got Meningitis. And on 2010 i was diagnosed had Retinitis Pigmentosa. Its rare genetic thing that will make my eyes goes blind.. im so sad. Sad about my illness sad about my gay thing. And also stress about my fams.. it made my head headache almost everynght…

    Please help me. What should i do? I dont think i couldnt find any suppott group like u have there..

  15. Dear Robertsons,

    I would like to try to put my thoughts into words since I haven’t been able to bring myself to talk to any family member about my struggles the past few months.
    (PART ONE)–I did not intend it to be this long.
    I grew up in a Southern, Independent Baptist Church: something I cherish. Although homosexuality rarely, if ever (I can’t remember), came up, I “knew” it was wrong. I didn’t even know what to call it, but I knew I was attracted to men–although, through very unconventional terms. It drove me to research (as much as a ten-ish year old could): I sought the answer out. I came to the conclusion it was wrong, and that I could not be Christian and have those attractions. I often, and I mean almost continuously, wondered if I was saved. I just couldn’t see me being saved with everything I was going through and some bad decisions I made during my teenage years. I don’t know if I ever had peace or assurance of my eternal destination except when I was just a boy when I said the prayer on the swing set with my brother.

    I have a good sized family: ten other siblings (two half siblings but whole in my eyes). My parents had nine children and are still together–such a comfort now. I love my family. Its one of my favorite pastimes and relevant so much today. I love making memories and being together as an unit, but this can be hard for my family. I come from two parents whose childhoods were very different from ours. My Mom and Dad came from abusive homes. I see now how it affected their relationship with me and my siblings as well. It is much like how you depicted Ryan’s condition in a recent video: in a box. That is how it is for my family. I believe most of us are left in our individual boxes, because none of us know or knew how to truly communicate. This pains me to write, but I believe it to be true. I hate that it could paint my parents in negative hues, but I understand now that it was something they too had to learn. They, too, had to build a box around themselves simply to survive; I guess. Now that I am twenty-five years old and growing, communicating has become easier for me and my whole family, although we still have a long, long way to go. I occasionally find myself picking up my legs over the sides and standing back in the very box God rescued me out of. Today, I am completely back in that box and have felt like it for about the past two months. I have just about taped up the seems and any cracks, but I would like to take these imaginary scissors and cut away to let the light overtake the darkness that surrounds. I do have a small candle that is giving me enough light to survive.

    While watching your story/testimony/vulnerability, my heart is truly pondering on another possibility: I can be gay and Christian, but I am afraid of the battle almost to the point that I don’t even want to pursue the “man of my dreams” (odd thing to write or consider). I still don’t know where I firmly stand on this issue, and it is best if I break the surface of my journey.

    To reiterate, I grew up in a very Southern, Conservative Christian, traditional, Republican, etc home. I have some wonderful childhood memories, but somewhere along the way I found this empty box that could shelter me from this world: the box, myself. I climbed so far inward that it was almost catastrophic. Once I found out I was attracted to guys and some of the severity of the idea, I closed off from the world–taped and shut with the things that brought me comfort inside. It was almost a constant battle to face every day. So much condemnation followed me from the “father of lies” and occasional comments made by others (rarely did I hear my family voice opposition). I once heard one of my best friends at the time say to another person, “If I were gay, I would kill myself.” Oh how his words have stayed with me. They did not destroy me, but they did expose my friend’s stance on the topic.Once, my brother-in-law was having a conversation with his pastor about the Rascal Flatt’s song “Love Who You Love,” and how they needed to stop supporting them due to the song’s belief in freely loving another partner: another stance exposed. I remember me and my older brother got into a heated argument, and he made the comment “you act so gay”– afterward, I thought less of myself for not being able to “act” straight. I can not truly put into words how much I suffered as a child/teenager hearing rumors and hurtful things said to my face or back. It followed me. I don’t think you could have put me on an island and made me feel any more alone in this world. I probably would have felt free although that can be attested. No one knew me or saw me or loved me growing up–this is how it felt at the time. I was the lowest totem on the pole. The lowest decree of sinner. I was distorted as a child.

    Later in life, after trying to “watch” my walk, my desires, voice, hair, clothes, taste in music and entertainment, and comments simply to keep people off my trail, my second year of college, I wanted to know what it was like to be with a guy–sexually and relation-ally. I would see what it was like, “get my fill” if you will, and afterwards I would live the straight life, but I was not expecting the aftermath. I found a website where I could meet gay guys hoping to find a good guy to be with for the first time. I was deliberate and strict about who I would pursue. After messaging several guys, I found one. He was cute, Christian, and about my age. It took off from there. We messaged and messaged, and shortly after, I was requested to come meet him at his place–we lived about two hours apart. I was desperate and wanted to but considered the risk factors. One night while still living with my parents, I frantically packed in hopes to get out without being noticed; I did not succeed. My sister found me, and I simply said, “I am going to stay with a friend.” I remember finally making it to his house after driving and driving and driving. We had our awkward moment hugged and spent the night together. What intended to be something short and impure turned into something magical and beautiful. What became an experiment quickly became serious. It was no longer about being with a guy sexually as it was being with a guy. I actually felt wrong when things would go too far, although they rarely did, and rightfully so. It felt so good to be held and loved by a guy that could not even compare to the few encounters with the opposite sex. Something felt right, but at the same time it didn’t. I knew what I wanted, but I was not certain it was possible with God or my family.

    After several months of talking and a few of dating, something in the water changed the tide. It was Christmas. He was on a ski-trip with his fraternity, and I was at home falling completely for him, looking for the right gift, hoping to spend my favorite season of the year with him. Something happened. After text, after text, after text, nothing–no reply. I called. I texted. I became desperate and so insecure, so vulnerable. After about a week of not hearing from him which had not happened since we started messaging on the website, I in desperate, broken mode made the two hour trip to his house to find it empty and no sign of him. I spent several nights alone at his place missing every ounce of him while trying to reach him by phone. Nothing. Cold trail. Heart-broken (shattered), tortured, defeated, vulnerable, broken, depressed, and all alone in the world, I made the trip home (to my Aunt’s who I lived with at the time, short time) just to find myself making the trip right back to his place the following day. If I remember it right, I found him. He was home, but he was not the same guy I fell in love with. He told me, “I feel like I should be with a woman.” There was apparently another woman he was talking to that he met while at his parent’s. I do not know if this was true, but I pleaded with him and tried to let him make his decision. He did. I left. It ended. We ended. I was alone, again, in my box. I died that day. It hurt more than I know to describe. It was all over my face. I had red eyes and couldn’t bear the pain. I am sure my family could tell. My Aunt tried so hard to be there for me (I am eternally grateful to her for it), but I just could not utter those words. We never got back together, and I have not heard from him since that awful day, but I can say assuredly that I am thankful for that day. If it wasn’t for me falling in love with him and being treated so badly I may have not been released from my box.

    After several days of heartache and immense pain–oh the pain, I finally opened the box up to my closest friend (prior to that awful day), Aunt, Sisters, Mother, Father, and friend, all respectfully. Although as you can imagine it was the opposite I had hoped for, but they loved me immensely. Did they make decisions or comments that hurt? Of course, but they sheltered me.

    (PART TWO) To Be Continued…

    • Jesse,
      I want to preface my remarks by telling you that I am amongst those that believe homosexual behavior to be sinful. The ONLY reason that I tell you that is in the hope that it will add weight to what I’m going to say next.
      Jesse, although you obviously feel lonely, please take comfort in the knowledge that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Your words expose a soft, gentle, and discerning soul that can only be the product of a broken & contrite heart. That is exactly what God wants from us… a broken & contrite heart. Please, please believe me… God loves you desperately! Please don’t think yourself worthless, my brother, because I guarantee that God does NOT see you that way. Please don’t think you have to be perfect to “win God’s favor.” God has given YOU His favor already… in the truth of Jesus Christ. Just as you state that your earthly family “sheltered” you, your Heavenly Father will shelter you also (not from earthly pain, but from spiritual death). Persevere with humility, my brother.
      with love,

      • You believe homosexual “behavior” is sinful… but what if 2 people of the same sex show each other with their bodies how much they love each other as a manifestation of their love for one another?
        So do you believe homosexual LOVE to be sinful?
        If so, where does this love come from?
        Where does ALL love come from?
        All love comes from God, right? No exceptions. He is the Source. Love can’t come from anywhere else BUT God, right?
        We can agree on that as fellow Christians, right?
        Is all love a gift from God? I’d venture to guess we can probably agree on that as well, since it has to be, as love ONLY comes from He Who is Love.
        Then, in fact, you are saying that God is sinful (in a round-about way), since love comes from God, and GOD IS LOVE (St John’s Gospel, Chapter 1), so homosexual love comes from God, since there is no other source of love.
        The Gospel doesn’t say “God is Love except homosexual love.” It says “GOD IS LOVE, AND HE THAT DWELLETH IN LOVE, DWELLETH IN GOD, AND GOD IN HIM.” (1 John 4:16).
        Didn’t say “except homosexual love” there…
        So God must dwell in the midst of homosexual love then. According to Scripture!! He didn’t make any exceptions! 😉

        So God is sinful?? Hmm… I don’t think you’d go there. So logically, you have to back up and take apart your conclusion piece by piece, and then you’ll see that calling ANY love sinful, is actually sinful in itself. Since, according to St John’s Gospel, he who dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Period. End.

        • Jesus teaches very clearly that not all love is good. In fact Jesus says love can be an abomination. Many examples of evil love in the Bible. When you go against God and love it, it is evil love. I recommend a thorough study of love from scripture. Also look up the words for love used in the English in the Hebrew and Greek and you will see that there are many different words for love.

        • Please show me in scripture where Jesus allowed for homosexual marriage? Now if you say that it is because He didn’t know about sexual orientation, like Matthew Vines does, then you deny who Jesus is: GOD! Jesus said marriage was a man and a woman. Never gave any other grouping to be allowed to marry. Then He said any sex outside of that union is sin. Paul also taught this saying the only bed undefiled is the marriage bed. The only marriage bed available is a man and a woman. So what you are saying is God is ok with same sex sexual relationships, yet He he never spoke to how they should walk that out but rather only allowed for one man and one woman to be married and called everything sexual outside of that sin worthy of everlasting damnation. To stand for homosexual marriage you have to add to the Scriptures and actually go against Jesus’ own teachings. So how many people did Jesus send to hell by mistake because he didn’t understand orientation within His own creation (John 1).

        • Talia,
          I’ve delayed my response, because I desperately don’t wish to be perceived as rude. But sometimes, in order to get to the crux of the matter, one must risk perceptions.
          First- I’m perplexed that you would attack me on this particular post. I was not being judgmental towards Jesse at all. I was simply trying to offer words of encouragement & hope, in love, to a young man that was obviously in pain and turmoil.
          Second- It’s quite telling that those who would defend homoSEXual behavior, very often shift the debate from a concrete subject (sex) to an abstract subject (love) in order to try to confound & conflate. That is one earmark of a very weak argument. “Sex” and “love” are not synonymous! But I’m sorry dear lady, even your assertions about “love” are nothing short of ridiculous. So I’ll go there with you… this time.
          Third- You asked me whether I agree with your assertion that “all love comes from God.” The very simple answer is NO… at least not the way you define love. All “love” is not equal nor equivalent, and all “love” is not Godly love. Nor is all “love” morally praiseworthy, as the scriptures and history clearly & repeatedly teach us. Many people throughout history have loved evil, and various manifestations of evil. Is that really “love?” And if so, is that “love” not misguided?
          Fourth- I love many people and many things, as I’m sure you do. I love my God, my mother & father, my wife, my son, my sister, my brother, my grandmother, my mother-in-law, my dog, my country, and many other entities. Following your logic, sexual intimacy with any of these entities should be just fine as long as it represents a “manifestation of our love.” (No. I’m not equating homosexuality with bestiality. All I’m doing is demonstrating how ridiculously flawed is your logic.)
          Fifth- You’ve stated in other posts that you have a background in medicine. You’ve also stated that you have two children who identify as “gay.” Putting those two together, I presume you’ve done at least a rudimentary study of the HIV/Aids issue. Can you tell me why (besides promiscuity) HIV/Aids traveled so fast, and was sadly so destructive & widespread amongst communities of homosexual men in its early years? (Hint: It’s the same reason that rectal suppositories are so effective.) Fluids from any source, introduced into the colon from the rectum are absorbed through the walls of the colon directly into the bloodstream. The risk of transmission through vaginal sex is not nearly as high as that of anal sex. This is not my opinion; this is fact.
          Additionally, anyone who engages in regular-to-periodic anal sex is a much greater risk of several types of rectal cancer. Medical experts speculate this is because the rectum has no natural lubrication, and therefore rectal bleeding commonly occurs with said behavior. These open wounds also provide yet another pathway that could facilitate cross-infection. Bottom line: Anal sex is much riskier than vaginal sex. The rectum & anus were not made for sexual intercourse, and therefore it is not natural.
          Lastly- With that I would pose you one last question (and this question applies to everyone, not just homosexuals): When, dear lady, is it ever an “act of [Godly] love” to subject your anyone to the high-risk, unnatural act of anal sex for the selfish purpose of sexual stimulation & gratification?


        • Mike – I find the above comment to be offensive and inaccurate…but I am going to hold off on my response, in hope that some physicians will respond here. I am praying that they will, so that we don’t allow this misinformation to stand, and so that you will have more educated and more edifying information to give to your precious son. Thanks for always being willing to learn and grow, Mike.

        • Linda,
          I’m genuinely sorry if sensibilities are offended. I truly am. These are most definitely complex & weighty issues… involving our loved ones. However, as you’ve said (if I may paraphrase), lives and souls [of our children] are at stake. I think they deserve a frank discussion of these issues.
          I too an offended… by the gross & simplistic inaccuracies presented here concerning “love”, that for the most part go unchallenged. I’m offended by the near total avoidance of concrete facts (science) concerning the dangers of homoSEXual (MSM) sex (or any sex). And I’m offended by what I believe to be blatant misrepresentations of Biblical Christianity from at least two perspectives; the perspective of cold Pharisaical zealotry, devoid of compassion, and the perspective of pro-gay advocacy (for lack of a better term), devoid of objectivity. But I try not to let my feelings get in the way of respectful dialogue, and the search for truth.
          Linda, you also make the claim that my post is inaccurate, and represents misinformation. Please be specific. Specifically what did I say that is “misinformed.” I cannot respond [with references] to rebuttals lacking specificity. I suspect that you’re referring to the “sex” part of my post.
          If so, you and I have had this talk before. You’ve taken the position (if I may) that barring promiscuity, there are no differences in the relative dangers of heterosexual (vaginal) sex versus MSM homosexual (anal) sex. Yet, I provided a link that demonstrates that even the GLMA (Gay & Lesbian Medical Assn.) professionals disagree with you. Did you read what they have to say? Nobody here challenged what the GLMA had to say. Not you, or anyone else. Here’s that link again- http://glma.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageID=690
          Linda, as you know, I found your blog in a search for understanding after my son “came out” to me about a year ago. I’ve formed my views on homosexuality over a lifetime of what I’ve been taught, and what I’ve learned on my own through study, personal experience, and prayerful introspection. I felt I owed it to my son (and still do) to challenge my own beliefs, because I’m only human, and I’ve been wrong before. Irrespective of the conclusions I reach on that topic, I owe him [and all my fellow man] compassion, tenderness, and understanding. In the interests of my son [and my own understanding], I desperately hope(d) that my beliefs would be proven wrong… that I’d come to some sort of epiphany that would allow me to affirm homosexuality as within God’s plan for us. It gives me no pleasure that my beliefs have not been dis-proven, but reinforced. I still believe active homosexuality to be sinful, and outside of God’s plan for us. But I also have come to believe that the cold & harsh response to this raging cultural debate by many churches and “Christians” to be equally abominable and sinful. So, I feel trapped in between two giant warring factions that I think are both in error.
          Lastly Linda, I have a deep empathy for what you and your family have experienced. Last week you told me that I was mistaken- that the purpose of this blog was not for debate & discussion. Out of respect for you, your family, and the memory & legacy of your precious son, should you ask me to post here no more, I will honor that request. With that, I thank you for your caring heart.


        • Mike,

          First of all, I was not attacking you, and I’m sorry you perceived my questions and response to you as an attack. I was challenging your assertion that homosexual behavior is “sinful” and asking you if you felt homosexual LOVE to be sinful? And, if not, do you find the physical manifestation of that love to be sinful? (ie. In homosexual physical intimacy), which, by your response to me, you obviously do—at least when it comes to anal sex.

          Secondly, I stand FIRMLY by my assertion that ALL LOVE COMES FROM GOD. And I believe this to be true so fully and completely, that my entire faith is based on this belief. Because He tells us—in the Gospel of John—that He IS love. And He has always been, before Creation, before all time. So therefore, all love comes from Him… But, before you take issue with that statement, let me tell you that my definition of love obviously does not coincide with yours. For example, we say we “love” many things when, in fact, we don’t. We don’t truly “love” ice cream. We don’t truly “love” our country. We may respect it, we may honor it, we may fight for it, we even may die for the citizens of it and what it stands for; but LOVE is a RELATIONSHIP in the definition of agape (and eros) love, and THAT is to what I was referring… I must admit that I found your argument very strange (or, as you stated of me, “ridiculously flawed”), because you appear—from your posts—to be fairly articulate, intelligent and well-educated, so surely you must have understood what I meant by “love!” And yes, I do believe we love our siblings and parents, friends and pets, and all of that love comes from God, and ONLY from God. But we don’t love them with eros love, so we don’t manifest that love with our bodies intimately in the same way we do with eros love. The love we have for our brothers and sisters is agape love, and by definition agape love comes from God. The love we have for our babies as a mother is agape love, and we do show them intimacy in breastfeeding them, but it is not sexual intimacy. Still, it is love that comes from God. And the love we have for our spouses is eros love (the highest form of love as defined by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical THEOLOGY OF THE BODY), and that is a different form of agape love, but it still comes from God. And it is made manifest in physical intimacy when it is mutual. And same sex partners who are in love with one another experience this in the exact same way as heterosexual partners. So, that love comes from God. Therefore, that love cannot be wrong or evil. It is a gift from God. And why should they then be denied it? Surely you don’t think that the love a same-sex couple has for one another, after they’ve been together for 40 years, is any less from God than the love a heterosexual couple has for one another? Do you truly believe that love does not come from God? I ask you. And if not, where do you think it comes from? Love is dynamic, life-bringing, and unites us with the Trinity. It is a reflection of the love expressed within the Godhead—a sharing in that infinite Divine Mystery, as evidenced by Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John after the Last Supper. It leads us to sanctity. It is not something we “decide” on with our will. It is a gift. And it is a gift from Him Who IS love; a sharing of Himself with His Creation. It is an invitation into the Godhead.

          And speaking of evil, you asked if loving something evil is love in my mind; and the answer to that would be—if you love a person who is evil, that love comes from God. Jesus demanded that we love our enemies and forgive them seventy times seven. He didn’t say “unless they’re evil.” I venture to guess that family members of serial killers often love them, just as God loves them, and that love is from God. The great saints throughout history have often loved the most unlovable, and even, at times, their persecutors. Just as Jesus loved the thief on the cross hanging next to Him. And He asks us to do the same.

          I do not believe there is real love unless there is relationship between 2 persons (and I include animals in that—as persons, but not humans; just to clarify. I do believe we love our pets, and they love us as much as they are capable in their somewhat limited capacity). God Himself is relationship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And God is love, so therefore, love can be defined only in terms of mutual relationship (even if the love is one-sided).You cannot have a mutual relationship with your country, your pizza, your TV shows, your smartphone, the season of summer, a Caribbean beach, etc. While we toss the word “love” around lightly and use it to describe our feelings for all of those things and more, you MUST have realized that I was not talking about everything we may call “love.” You must have understood that I meant the love between 2 people in my post to you. So, your argument that love is not always of God does not hold true. Yes, the love we have for another living being (animal or person) IS from God, and only God, and basically He said this when He defined Himself as Love and the Source of love in the Gospels.

          I do also know, of course, that sex and love are not synonymous. For the sake of argument, I will concede that ANY sex outside of love is probably morally wrong. But I am also not one to judge that. And I certainly wouldn’t differentiate between same sex and heterosexual sex in that statement.

          But I have to ask (and this is a general question, not directed just at you), why are we so anxious to latch onto homosexual relations as being sinful when there are soooo many stronger admonishments in New Testament scripture—including things that Jesus made very clear—that we seem to ignore. For example, judging others. Or being wealthy. We actually regard the wealthy as privileged and worthy of respect, when the Second Person of the Trinity stated clearly that it was harder for a wealthy person to get into the Kingdom of Heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (in other words: impossible; whereas He never said a word about same sex relationships!)… I’m just wondering what it is about same sex relationships that we—as a society—find so utterly reprehensible that we have to use God as our justification and, in turn, we—with our judgment and righteousness—drive others FROM God. And that, I venture to guess, is a greater sin than any kind of consensual sex between adults.

          And why are we—as a society—so concerned with what 2 consenting adults do in their own lives that have nothing to do with us personally? Why do we care so much (as evidenced by our judgment) which 2 other human beings love each other? Shouldn’t we instead be rejoicing in any loving relationship, when the world is so full of hate and terror? This confounds me, I admit.

          So that brings me to your HIV/AIDS argument (and no, I am not the “Anonymous” who posted a response to you previously on this topic). First of all, I do not believe HIV to be a “homosexual disease.” In fact, I know that it is not. I worked briefly in an HIV clinic, and we had many female patients, and many patients who had contracted it from drug abuse. HIV is a virus. It is spread by blood. It does not differentiate between gender or race or status. It is not only spread by anal sex. However, condoms also protect a person against it. There is also an old anti-retroviral medication which has now become available as a daily medication for high-risk groups, to prevent contraction of HIV; and it has proven very, very effective. It is called Truvada. It is taken once-a-day. So there are many ways to prevent the spread of HIV. (Does that change your idea of it at all? Or is your HIV argument solely based on the fact that it is transmitted?)… There are also many, many heterosexual couples who engage in anal sex. In fact, I would venture to guess that more than half of heterosexuals have done so at one time or another… That being said, there are potentially fatal diseases spread by vaginal sex as well. Tertiary syphilis is hard to treat and very debilitating, and congenital syphilis is devastating. HPV (cervical cancer) can be fatal. Chlamydia (transmitted most often by vaginal, heterosexual sex) causes PID and can cause infertility. And if you want to keep going, you can get community acquired pneumonia from the guy in the grocery store who coughs on you, fall seriously ill and die. Thousands die of pneumonia every year. Many moreso than die of AIDS in this country… There are also far more heterosexual people who have HIV than there are homosexual people at this point in history. And we have very good treatment for HIV now, so it is really just managed as a chronic disease (at least in the developed world)… You also speak of it being unnatural to have anal sex (because of lack of lubricant? Really??). So then you must think oral sex is unnatural as well. What about manual mutual masturbation? My point here is—who are you to judge what is “natural” and what is not? How is it morally wrong, when you are in a committed, monogamous relationship and you’re loving one another, to love any part of the body you and your partner mutually agree upon? Did you know that we, as human beings, have multiple erogenous zones? God dwells within us, and our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Not just our penises and our vaginas—but our entire bodies. Every last cell. And if you’re Catholic, you believe that you take Jesus’ Body and Blood into your own body at Mass, and, as food, He penetrates every cell in your body. So all of our bodies are sacred in a certain sense, not just specific parts. What’s wrong with loving different parts of one anothers’ bodies if you love a person? The idea that penile-vaginal sex is the only acceptable form of sex is extremely archaic. I’m sorry, but it really is. There is no natural lubricant between a woman’s breasts, but why shouldn’t she love her husband there? (And I’ll leave it up to your imagination how, but this is often done in a marriage, and would you consider THAT unnatural and morally wrong?). That’s just another example… So, at the risk of being offensive, which I’m sure I already have, your argument about HIV and anal sex is very, very weak and appears to show a basic visceral distaste for the idea of 2 men being physically intimate with one another. You even said yourself you don’t find 2 women being intimate to be nearly as distasteful (you may have used different words, but that was the gist). So perhaps you have a prejudice that you need to work out. Perhaps this is your own issue about anal sex, and that is what is standing in the way of your acceptance of your son.

          And, in regards to your son—in another post you mentioned that you believe God made him gay, and you were angry with God, or at least had issue with that. Do you truly believe that God makes mistakes? Don’t you therefore believe that it is God’s will that he be gay? Don’t you think God made him gay to fulfill a specific vocation for the glory of God and His Creation, and for his own eventual sanctity? Do you believe God is capable of making anything evil or sinful? I know you don’t believe that… Even the demonic realm and satan—if you believe in them—were created good, and turned away from God of their own free will. That is Biblical. God does not make mistakes, and God does not sin, and God does not make evil. So, if one is born gay, then it is the will of God that that person be gay, and that person’s “gay-ness” (if you will) is good because it is of God… Think about it!

          Lastly, I was never once in any of my posts condoning selfish stimulation and sexual gratification in any form. Not between a heterosexual couple or a homosexual couple. I never believe that is right. But I am also not on this earth to judge what other human beings do with each other in the privacy of their bedrooms when they are not hurting each other. I guess that is their choice, but I would apply the same rules to heterosexual couples that I would to homosexual couples in this instance. I do not equate sex with love. I believe love manifests itself in deep physical intimacy—where God is at the center, and what you express to your lover physically is a way for you to show them how much you love them, not a way to “get yourself off.” If you just want to “get yourself off,” you’re better off masturbating, no matter what your gender preference is.

          So, I hope I have clarified for you my previous post that you found so offensive. I do apologize if I have again offended you. But I also ask you to prayerfully consider my point of view, because I do not state all these things lightly. I do consider myself profoundly devout, and I do have much personal background in Catholic theology and prayer… so, within the limits of my fallen state as a human being, I do consider that I have a relationship with God Who is Love. In some very small way, I guess you could say that deeply, truly, and with the utmost conviction, I “know Him better than that.”

        • Talia,
          I thought I detected some condescension in your original post. Maybe I assumed too much. Sometimes I’m not as articulate as I’d like, and I too, am an emotional creature. You’re right. “Attack” was too strong a word, and I apologize.
          You’ve given me a whole lot to chew on here. In the spirit of Jeff’s original “what we have in common” post, I think you and I agree on much more than we do not. I appreciate your taking the time to give of yourself, and to challenge me. I’d like to do some deep thinking, reading, and praying before I respond.
          Thank you,

        • Talia,
          One of your primary challenges to me was, “do I feel (think) that homosexual LOVE is sinful?” The other was, “Doesn’t all love come from God?” In fairness to you, I didn’t really answer those specific questions… but I will try. Before I do though, I’d like to thank you for your thoughtful challenge. You’ve forced me to do some real soul-searching to justify & clarify my own beliefs so that I can adequately articulate them in writing.

          Talia, it’s going to become very clear in the ensuing paragraphs that you and I differ in our beliefs. We do not agree on the nature of our love, or where it comes from. I don’t expect to change your mind. But I do hope that you’ll give my interpretations as careful & deliberate consideration as I’ve given yours. Even should we not agree, such consideration enables us to better understand our relative perspectives, and ultimately each other.

          First, a disclaimer…
          What I’m about to share is [in part] a snapshot of my beliefs. I make no declarations of “what is” or “what isn’t.” Although I’ve great conviction in this expression of my faith (like Talia), and I believe what follows comports with Biblical scripture, in a spirit of Christian humility, I admit that I could be wrong about anything concerning faith that follows.

          “God is love.”
          Talia, I wholeheartedly agree with you on this particular point. But God is many other things as well. Some of these are verified by the written word, and some are self-evident. God is mind (intelligence), God is reason, God is spirit, God is will, God is good, God is just, and God is the father of truth.
          But just because “God is love” does not mean that all love comes [directly] from God. (I believe that the “Sun is hot”, but that does not mean that “all heat comes from the Sun.” I believe that “cake is dessert”, but that doesn’t mean that “all dessert is cake.”)

          “Does all love come from God?”
          Moses’ written word teaches us that God created each of us in His image (literally, “our image”; Gen. 1:26-27). I believe that what is meant by this is that God imbued each of us with the “God-like” characteristics & capacities of mind, emotion, will, spirit, and good… amongst perhaps others. Or as some prefer, in keeping with God’s triune nature, “our image” can mean mind (God), body (Jesus), and spirit (Holy Spirit). I don’t think it’s important for me to choose between these two interpretations. As I don’t view either interpretation as comprehensive & complete, and I don’t see them as necessarily incompatible, I actually believe them both. What’s more important [I believe] is this;
          1) These capacities make us unique in God’s creation, and
          2) These “God-like” capacities imbue each of us with the power to think, reason, feel, love (or hate), choose, contemplate justice, discern truth, and make moral distinctions.

          Therefore, I believe that our capacity to love comes from God. But “our love” is a product of our own heart, our own mind, and yes, our own will. Yet even though these capacities are gifts from God, and are “God-like”, we are not perfect creatures. At best, we can only emulate God’s parallel capacities. Even at our best, our thinking, our reason, our emotions, our love, our choices, our contemplation of justice, and our discernment of truth, ALL fall short of the glory [and capacity] of God. We are incapable of truly pure, perfect, Godly love. (We’ve all felt the need to say “I’m sorry” to our loved ones. I do this almost weekly. That’s a pretty good indication that our love, at best, is imperfect.)

          So, “do I think that homosexual love is sinful?”
          I can answer this many different ways, all requiring deeper explanation.
          1) I do not know. Although I believe scripture is pretty clear concerning homo-SEXuality, the scriptures say nothing about homo-emotionalism.
          2) I do not necessarily think “homosexual love” exists. Nor do I believe “heterosexual love” exists. There is just “love that God approves of”, and misdirected and/or perverted love that He does not.
          3) As an imperfect being, my behavior towards my “love” is also imperfect. Likewise, any human’s behavior towards their “loves” is also imperfect. Every act between loved ones is not an act of “Godly” love.
          But because [I believe] it is PHYSIOLOGICALLY unnatural, inherently dangerous and harmful, I do not believe that anal sex (homo or hetero) is ever an act of Godly love. I don’t think it’s necessary to belabor the supporting scriptures.

          A few words on “evil”:
          I don’t believe that any human that ever lived is (was) inherently, immutably evil. I believe in the spiritual world, and evil is its own entity(s). Sin is not the entity “evil”; it is the product of our choosing “evil” over righteousness, and therefore can separate us from God. God made us to be good, but we (Adam & Eve) chose sin (evil). Subsequently, we all, having the capacity for good, are born into sin. Even the most infamous mass-murderers of all time (Mao-Tse-Tung & Stalin) were given the “God-like” gift of the capacity for good. But I also believe that through our God-given powers of [free] choice & [free] will, we also have the capacity to effectively destroy our God-given gifts of conscience and moral distinction. Repetitive denial eventually turns to hatred. Repetitive denial of God, of truth, of reason, of justice, of love, of morality will eventually turn to hatred of, and is destructive to those same capacities & characteristics. (This also, is scriptural.) And yet, on a spiritual level, it is not in our purview to decide at what point a person is no longer redeemable. That is the Father’s purview alone.
          So yes, you’re right. Jesus did command that we love our enemies (the person). But that’s not what I asked you. I didn’t ask you about loving the person who embraces evil; I asked about loving the “evil.” The Bible [and history] is replete with examples of people and societies that embraced & loved evil. Does that love come from God? (My belief is that it does not. Our love is a product of our own heart, and “The heart (our feelings) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

          “Is [interpersonal] relationship a prerequisite for love?”
          This is one question you posed to me. You seem to think that it is. I do not. Respectfully, Talia, you are wrong about me. I do love my country, and truth (even uncomfortable truth). It is possible to love inanimate objects, or concepts, or ideals, etc. If it were not, then God’s first commandment would have been in vain. (“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3) Think deeply about that.
          One example that you cited yourself is the example of when Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Why do you suppose Jesus said that? The answer is found in His conversation with the “young man” in the preceding verses. When Jesus advised the young man to liquidate his wealth and give to the poor, the otherwise righteous young man balked. That was too much to ask. It’s not because wealth is inherently bad. It’s because a man of wealth is likely to LOVE money (material wealth; other god) more than the Lord, or his neighbor. That love comes from a man’s own heart, not from God.
          I recognize where I think this “relationship” notion comes from. Today, and in recent years the “small group study” model is all the rage in many church communities. I was in one myself for a long time. But I stopped, because it wasn’t what I was looking for. I joined because I wanted to learn more about the Bible… but I didn’t. I just learned more about the others in the group. At what would have been the beginning of my 3rd year in the small group, out of curiosity, I went through all of the roughly 200 questions the group was supposed to grapple with over a four month period. Almost all of the questions were dialectic as opposed to didactic, and out of the 200+ questions, only 3 pointed towards answers in scripture. The small group proponents are heavily into an emphasis on “relationship.” I even heard one well-known protestant speaker claim that “one cannot be truly human in the absence of ongoing interpersonal human relationships.” Poppycock. Was Adam not fully human before the creation of Eve? But you see, interpersonal relationship IS a prerequisite for dialectic transformation.

          You ask- “…why are we—as a society—so concerned with what 2 consenting adults do in their own lives that have nothing to do with us personally?”
          Oh, but public policy does have everything to do with each of us, both collectively as a society, and personally. Public policy [as well as societal norms] affects what our children are taught at school. Social justice is incompatible with equal justice. Special rights for some mean diminished rights for the rest. The reasons go on and on.
          The word “idiot” has a very interesting etymology. (No, I’m not calling anyone an idiot.) The root word for “idiot” is “idiote.” It is ancient Greek, and meant “one who does not concern himself with public affairs.” The Greeks had a special disdain for “idiotes” who didn’t concern themselves with public affairs. Although we’re heading that direction, I’m quite thankful that we are not quite yet a nation of “idiotes.”

          You state- “First of all, I do not believe HIV to be a ‘homosexual disease.’”
          I agree. I never said that it was.

          You state- “There are also far more heterosexual people who have HIV than there are homosexual people at this point in history.”
          Specific to the USA, this claim would be FALSE.
          From the CDC- “At the end of 2011, an estimated 500,022 (57%) persons living with an HIV diagnosis in the United States were gay and bisexual men, or gay and bisexual men who also inject drugs.” http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/msm/index.html

          You state- “…in regards to your son—in another post you mentioned that you believe God made him gay…”
          No. I did not. Words are important. Please read my words carefully. What I said was that I do not believe that my son chose to be gay. That does not mean that I believe God made him that way. But I can understand how you inferred that from what I said, as I did say that I was tempted to curse God. But I didn’t curse God, and the reasons I didn’t are important. My reasons for NOT cursing God are as follows:
          1) I fear my heavenly Father.
          2) God does not make mistakes. I believe MY dilemma is a product of MY lack of understanding.
          3) Relative to our individual temptations/predilections, in the eyes of God, “how a person is born” is irrelevant. We are ALL born into sin. One message of the gospel is to “deny the [carnal] self.” (This contrasts with the consensus of modern psychology, which advocates “embracing the self.”)

          “Sacramental marriage.”
          I too believe that holy matrimony (Biblical marriage) is a sacred covenant (or sacramental, as you called it). I wouldn’t describe my beliefs surrounding this “sacred covenant” as identical to your description, but the main principles are similar. I believe that I’ve had 3 sacred covenants in my life.
          1) My initial profession of faith in Christ.
          2) My marriage.
          3) The adoption of my son.
          I believe all three of these instances involve(d) a reciprocal covenant between God and myself. I realize that all three of these instances represented a great gift from God, gifts that I consciously promised to honor, nurture, and cultivate for the rest of my life.

          I know I’ve not answered all of your questions, Talia. But I’ve done my best to answer your primary challenges. Although we may disagree, it is my hope that this gives you a better understanding of my perspective, and perhaps of me.

          Lastly, I’d like to sincerely thank Linda for allowing these conversations to take place.

          I wish you well, Talia.


        • Hi, Mike! Just popping in to tell you that I really respect how much thought, prayer and time you are giving to thinking through this. May I ask which books you’ve read that explain and support the non-traditional readings of the few scriptures that seem to address homosexuality? I am sure you have done quite a bit of study…I’d just be interested to know which books you’ve read on the topic.

        • Hi Linda,
          (Sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been out of state, tending to ill & aging family.)
          Thank you for your kind sentiments. Like you, I take my quest for understanding very seriously.
          But at the same time, I must admit that I’m a little perplexed by your inquiry. Not only is it overly broad, but I think I disagree with your basic premise. If I may ask, to what “non-traditional reading of scripture” are you referring? I don’t think I’ve advanced anything fitting that description. Perhaps I’m wrong. Please be specific.

          You know, a lot of attention here has been focused on questions & perspectives surrounding the relative propriety [as it relates to scripture] of homosexuality. I believe, according to scripture, that practicing homosexual behavior [or any sexual behavior outside the Biblical covenant of holy matrimony] to be outside of God’s plan for us. It’s obvious that many [here] consider that perspective to be repulsively intolerant. As a result, our disagreement surrounding that perspective becomes the focus, and dominates our conversation. But honestly, that IS NOT my biggest dilemma. It’s one thing to vigorously debate the Biblical propriety of “what is”; it’s quite another to wrestle with how we, as Christians, should most edifyingly respond to “what is.” On this all-important question, I think we could largely agree.

          All Christians have great teachers they admire; teachers who’ve had significant impact on their personal beliefs. For me, one of my greatest teachers was my grandmother. Although she’s been dead now for 35 years, she’s still teaching me through her extensive writing. But it’s not “what she taught” that gave her such credibility in my eyes. “What she taught” is not what drew me to Christianity. What drew me to “what she taught” was THE WAY SHE LIVED what she taught, and the LOVE, PATIENCE, and TENDERNESS with which she tried to share her faith. Our most impactful teaching is accomplished not by what we say, but by the example we set. I believe this is what Jesus meant by His hopeful description of Christians as “salt and light to the world.” (Matthew 5)

          My son is almost 18 years old. He already knows what I believe, and he’s got a pretty good grasp of Biblical/gospel doctrine. Relative to this phase of his life, and in all areas of his life, I’m in what I call the “GRR years.” In these “GRR years” of raising a teenager, a parent must grit their teeth, and Gradually Release Responsibility. This is a very difficult & challenging period of time for any loving parent. This not only entails releasing responsibility TO the youngster; it also means releasing responsibility FOR the youngster to God. In the years since his birth, I’ve loved and influenced him as best I could. Now I must have faith that God will continue to work in and on his heart & mind. Increasingly, my son pays less & less heed to “what I say”, but he will always remember THE WAY I LIVE what I say, and the LOVE, PATIENCE, and TENDERNESS I show him in these most delicate & fragile years of his youthful development.
          (Side note: Just as my grandmother didn’t live to see me become a mature, Christian man, I may never see the ripened fruit of God’s work in my son’s heart. But I must have faith, and hold on to the knowledge that God’s time isn’t my time.)
          At this point, were I to “brow beat him with the 2×4 of truth” (as I see it), I’d succeed only in driving him away (from both me and God). Only the willing ear hears, but the eyes learn lessons unaware. (In my humble opinion, this is a concept Joshua has yet to grasp.) Increasingly, I think my primary job is to grit my teeth, be there, have faith in God, and to teach through the tenderness and patience of loving example… and if I may, to love my son, just because he breathes.

          Hopeful blessings for you, Linda.

        • Mike – I just have a couple of minutes here, but I am still interested to know what reading you have done to challenge your current interpretation of the scriptures that you believe forbid gay marriage. I do not think that the Bible condemns gay relationships, but that God blesses same-sex marriages in the same way that he does heterosexual unions.

          Have you read Brownson’s work, Bible, Gender, Sexuality? How about Gushee’s Changing our Minds? If you have, why have you dismissed their perspectives as wholly misguided?

        • Thanks, Mike….I assume you have done your study on both sides of this issue, since you take it so seriously and know that the consequences for your son could be, quite literally, life giving or life ending.

        • Linda,
          I read in your words here something that troubles me. No one who has not experienced exactly what you have can truly understand the depths of your pain. Yet if I could, I would lift some of this burden from your heart.

          My father was [and still is] a very tough & demanding father. No matter what I did, he seemed impossible to please. He was quite literally a career military drill-sergeant, and that’s the way he ran his household. I remember the first time I stood up to him at age 17. I woke up a half-hour later, lying flat on my back at the rear of his closet, blood running down my face. He had taken me out with one punch.
          It would be easy for me to blame him for the bad choices I’ve made in my life, and I suppose at one time I did harbor a great deal of resentment towards him. But my choices as an adult [and even a teenager] have been my own, and I alone am responsible for them.
          I’ve seen first-hand a lot of tragedy involving alcoholism and drug use. I’ve even had the personal experience of the suicides of those close to me. At 59 years old, I still carry with me the consequences of a blood disorder from my own IV drug use as a teenager. By my own free will I engaged in this dangerous behavior. No one is ultimately responsible for the consequences of my actions but me.

          I’ve read your family’s story, and watched several of your videos. I know, by your own words, that you hold yourself accountable for Ryan’s death. I even heard you say (if I may paraphrase) that your beliefs surrounding the sinful nature of homosexuality killed your son. With deepest respect & empathy, I think you’re being much too hard on yourself. I believe that we are all responsible for our own actions. But personal accountability can be cold, harsh, and unforgiving. While you (your beliefs) may have influenced Ryan’s state of mind, he alone is responsible for the choices that he made.

          From another context: There’s been much talk here about the impropriety of judging (condemning) others (the person). The Bible makes it quite clear that it’s not within our purview to judge (condemn) others. But the Bible also makes it clear that we’re no more qualified to pass ultimate judgment (condemnation) on ourselves, than we are others. Likewise, our obligation to forgive applies not only to others, but also ourselves.

          I wish you peace.

        • Hi Linda,
          You asked-
          “Have you read Brownson’s work, Bible, Gender, Sexuality? How about Gushee’s Changing our Minds?”
          No Linda, I have not. To be honest, I’ve not even heard of them until your recommendation. But I will put Brownson on my reading list, and I’ll let you know what I think.

          You asked-
          “If you have, why have you dismissed their perspectives as wholly misguided?”
          In the last 24 hours, I have read both excerpts from the book, and both positive & negative reviews. I should make one thing clear. It is not I who puts forth a “non-traditional reading of scripture”, it is Brownson. Therefore, as far as I’m concerned, the burden of proof will be on him, not me. But as I said, I’ll let you know what I think after reading the book. (“Burden of proof” is the wrong term. What I mean is that it will be up to him to convince me, either by the preponderance of evidence or overwhelmingly persuasive logic.)

          You state-
          “…I am still interested to know what reading you have done to challenge your current interpretation of the scriptures that you believe forbid gay marriage.”
          Linda, I’ve certainly NOT said that “I believe the scriptures forbid gay marriage.” I don’t think I’ve said anything concerning gay marriage, at least as it pertains to scripture. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.) That’s a topic I’ve purposefully chosen to skirt in my posts on your blog. It’s true, one could infer from my posts what side of that issue that I would come down on. But I’ve avoided the topic because the surrounding debate entails such broad-spectrum issues like the legitimate role of the SCOTUS, democracy in the US, states’ rights & legal prerogative, judicial activism (legislation), separation of powers, civil rights, equal rights, special rights, redefinition of public institutions, religious liberty, etc. And that’s looking at the issue just from a legal perspective. The spectrum broadens even more when considering the moral & religious implications.

          You state-
          “I do not think that the Bible condemns gay relationships, but that God blesses same-sex marriages in the same way that he does heterosexual unions.”
          Now that is a “nontraditional interpretation of scripture.”

          I wish you well.

        • Mike, I apologize if I wasn’t clear in my original question. Clearly, you don’t hold a non-traditional view – I do (though I don’t think that just because something is traditional it is necessarily correct – traditionally scripture was used to justify oppression and enslavement of blacks, to name just one instance when traditional views were blatantly in opposition to the teachings of Jesus).

          I spoke of gay marriage because, from my perception, if we come to the place where we realize that gay marriages can be mutually sanctifying and God-glorifying, just as heterosexual marriages, then we can create a society where gay teens are able to engage in normal, healthy dating – and make age appropriate mistakes – just as straight teenagers are. They can have the same hope of lifelong commitment, intimacy and family just as straight kids do. It is my strong belief that if we, as a society, want to promote strong and lasting families, we have to include ALL people in that challenge and privilege – not just some of them.

          Obviously, you and I disagree about what the Bible teaches when it comes to this…but I thank you for being willing to read the works of theologians who will challenge your thinking a bit. The overwhelming majority of those of who hold affirming views have spent years and years studying – and believing – the traditional theologians on homosexuality, but it doesn’t seem that many Christians are even willing to educate themselves to realize that there might be other credible interpretations than the one they’ve believed all of their lives.

          I wish you best, Mike.

        • I will just add one more thing to my “love rant”:

          In true Sacramental marriage in the Catholic sense, one is supposed to be brought to sanctity by the marriage itself. That is the goal. And the reason for this is—when 2 people are in love—they are actually LOVING GOD IN THE OTHER PERSON (and I use capitalization for emphasis), and GOD IS LOVING THEM THROUGH THE OTHER PERSON. They recognize God in another, and fall in love with God in that person; and God, in turn, loves them through their spouse. That is true eros love… and, in a lesser sense, it is true when we love anyone: we recognize their goodness, and, therefore, we see God in them. Because God dwells within us (yes, that is scriptural). For Protestants, this may sound strange (I don’t know, I’ve never been Protestant), but trust me—I didn’t make this up. This does not originate with me. Research the Catholic theology of marriage from a reputable Catholic source… Now maybe if you’re not Catholic, you wouldn’t believe this, but I do believe it, as I am Catholic, and I love my husband very deeply, as he loves me, and we are fortunate to share a truly Sacramental marriage. God loves us and blesses us through the other, and we love God by loving each other…

          So, that being said, the same would hold true for a same sex marriage, since the depth of love is the same. A same sex couple who truly loves one another unconsciously recognizes—and falls in love with—God in the other person. And God, in turn, loves those persons through their spouse. Therefore, gay or not, we are ultimately loving God and He is loving us when we love each other. So we really have no business judging that! Ever. Under any circumstances. As a people and as a society, and as believing Christians, we should do nothing but rejoice in it.
          Wouldn’t you agree?

        • How can they fulfill the becoming one flesh that God ordained as part of that union? When God made Adam and Eve you will see in Genesis 1 that God first formed (yatsar) Adam as Their full image and then made (banah) from Adam, Eve. Everything used in the making of Eve was from Adam. Yatsar in Hebrew is to frame, form of original creation as we can see that Adam came 1st, was from the dust formed, and God had to breathe His life into him. Banah means in Hebrew to rebuild, cause to continue. Eve was taken from Adam completely. God never breathes into her life because it was taken from Adam. Therefore the original full image and likeness that Adam contained before Eve, was separated to be demonstrated in different ways by each of them. Since Eve came from the flesh of Adam they didn’t have to have sex to be joined in one flesh as the statement concerning becoming one flesh that follows that doesn’t apply to them but is for those after them by saying man shall leave his father and mother and become one flesh. Is speaking to those pro-created after Adam and Eve and is how they are to fulfill what Adam and Eve had at creation. One flesh, both together demonstrating the image and likeness of God. Further evidence from genesis 2 is when God says He will make Adam a helper suitable. This is ezer kenegdo. Helper parallel or strong parallel. Same sex isn’t parallel. Also notice Eve isn’t named Eve until after the fall when sin separates them making way for sin to enter mankind to attack what God created. This very display is found in Christ and the church. His bride. All that the church needs to become His bride is found in Him. To keep this message short do a study of all the times scripture shows that what we need is in or through Christ. Jesus even prays the we would be one with Him. Not sexually but is part of the image of marriage that Jesus himself uses to describe his relationship with His bride. No room for homosexuality. Finally since people claim to love a covenant making God. Male and female relationships were made with a built in blood covenant. The hymen at creation without the law yet the law discusses it. Lying about this covenant means death to the liar. Hope this helps. Josh

      • Mike, I’m replying to your post last night regarding HIV/AIDS. (I didn’t see a reply button to that specific comment.) I’ve followed Linda’s blog for a long time and recall your comments always to be thoughtful and respectful. But I do take a bit of an issue with your portrayal of AIDS/HIV and perhaps I simply mis interpreted your train of thought. The HIV virus is blood-borne and therefore anything causing bleeding increases it’s likelihood. Anal sex (whether between those who are straight or gay) carries a higher risk, although all sexual activity carries some risk. But none of those risks make a case for what’s natural or unnatural. A man who rapes a young girl may do so via her vagina but there’s nothing natural about it… and HPV virus causing cervical cancer is deadly despite being what you refer to as a more natural method of transmission. Lesbian girls carry zero risk of pregnancy and yet I don’t imagine you would (if I correctly understand your previous views on gay sex) use that to indicate that lower risk means more natural sex. Sex carries a lot of risks, in all forms, unless it occurs in the context of a lifelong, monogamous, committed relationship. Finally, in a broader sense, lifelong abstinence is far easier to tout by those able to have “sanctioned”‘sex than it is to live it out. I pray that if you have those around you who are gay, they will be able to make their own decision before God as to what is natural and unnatural because they are the only ones he can reliably and accurately speak to regarding such a complex and personal issue. Thanks for listening.

        • Joani,
          I appreciate your challenge, your implied request for clarification, and your charitable tone.
          First, let me address what I meant by “unnatural.” I was not referring to any moral or spiritual implications; I was laser-focused from a physiological perspective. Whether one’s belief system stems from creationism or evolution, the anus & rectum were not made (or evolved) for sexual intercourse. If that statement were untrue, then some sort of physiological (natural) lubrication mechanism would be present (either created or evolved). The example of rape that you give is certainly morally & spiritually reprehensible (unnatural), but that in no way diminishes the fact that the vagina evolved, or was created to accommodate sexual intercourse with natural, physiological lubrication. (I mean, of course, between consenting adults.)
          Secondly… concerning lesbianism. I’ll be totally honest with you, here. From a strictly physiological perspective, I find it much more difficult to be critical of homosexuality between two women versus between two men. Now, from moral & spiritual perspectives, I still believe that it’s… I’ll use the word “misguided.” But that’s a values judgment, based to a great extent on what people believe… and that’s beyond science (at least, beyond my scientific understanding). I certainly don’t have all the answers.
          You state- “Sex carries a lot of risks, in all forms, unless it occurs in the context of a lifelong, monogamous, committed relationship.”
          Of course, you are correct. But that in no way negates or disproves what I said. I [think I] clearly stated that even if you remove promiscuity from the equation, anal sex is much more risky than vaginal sex.
          You state- “Finally, in a broader sense, lifelong abstinence is far easier to tout by those able to have “sanctioned”‘sex than it is to live it out.”
          Again, you are correct. I’ve never touted lifelong abstinence. (But it’s interesting that the scriptures do… I think. I’ll have to look that up again.) This gets to a part of this debate that I can’t get my head around. What’s the solution? Very humbly and with a broken heart, I do not know. I know that my innocent son did not choose his “gayness” (for lack of a better term). In the last 12 months I’ve come very close to cursing God for afflicting my beloved son with something so pervasive & complex. On an issue that the wisest men (& women) that have ever lived have grappled [and often failed] to understand, why the hell do our innocent children have this thrust upon them? Again, very humbly and with a broken heart, I do not know.
          You state- “I pray that if you have those around you who are gay, they will be able to make their own decision before God as to what is natural and unnatural because they are the only ones he can reliably and accurately speak to regarding such a complex and personal issue.”
          I agree with the gist of your point, here. We are all called to discern righteousness. I will be called to answer for myself, not others… unless I’ve caused them to stumble. The word “judge” [and its derivatives] have at least 2 meanings in the Bible: 1) “to discern”, and 2) “to condemn.” I believe we are all called to judge (to discern) what is and isn’t righteous, but ultimate condemnation [or affirmation] of “the person” is sole purview of God.
          Again, I appreciate your remarks.


        • Excellent points, Mike… we are on the same page. And your boy is so VERY blessed to have a Dad who says “I don’t know.” Blessings and peace… and keep verbalizing your journey as it helps all of us.

        • Had to laugh at my “We are on the same page” comment… as though that suddenly gives security in rightness!! What I think I meant was that we are on the same page in our “don’t know ness”. 😊

        • Mike,
          Way back I thought the way you did until I experience two of my dearest family member express to me their gay love. First it was my beloved brother, who was an olympic caliber swimmer and the most handsome bachelor in town. Next it was my beloved son. Listening to their story I realized their love was as beautiful and pure as mine was to my husband. I do not care what the scriptures say to tell you the truth. Most of the scriptures we follow were selected by a group of men ( politicians at the time) to serve their agenda. There are many books of the bible that were omitted just because it did not serve the purpose of the leaders of the time. So which one we should revere? And most of all, Jesus in all of those scriptures, never mentioned anything against gay love or sex. Unprotected vaginal sex is as dangerous as unprotected anal sex. There are many heterosexual couples who engage in this type of behavior ( anal sex) . Are they to be condemned also?
          I am a physician who was at the front line of the AIDS crisis. I worked in Puerto Rico, Houston and Miami serving the poor in the 1980’s at the beginning of the crisis. I probably saw AIDS patient die before we knew what this illness was. It was not confined just to homosexuals. AIDS was as prevalent in the heterosexual communities as it was in the homosexual ones but this fact was not news worthy at the time. Besides, everyone at that time thought AIDS was a gay disease. One of the first child to die of this horrendous disease happened to be my patient. That’s when all of us in the medical community realized this was another STD that was transmitted by intercourse and blood transfusion regardless of your sexual orientation. Wake up Mike. Your son is probably a precious human being that deserves your love. God loves him and he is not living in sin. I am a Catholic who goes to church and I am very at peace with my son and his partner and will celebrate their wedding as much as my heterosexual son’s one.

        • I usually don’t respond to anonymous posts, but much of what this person says is simply untrue, and screamed to be challenged.

          Anonymous said- “Unprotected vaginal sex is as dangerous as unprotected anal sex.”
          I’m not motivated to simply “win the argument.” I actually like to be proven wrong. That’s how I (we) learn. But it takes more than an anonymous personal declaration to be persuasive. Please Doctor, what’s your reference for that claim? I’m not aware of one medical assn. in the entire world that concurs with that statement, nor does the US Dept. of HHS. From the US Government “AIDs.gov” website; Quote- “Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior.” And, “Vaginal sex is the second highest-risk sexual behavior.” https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/how-you-get-hiv-aids/

          Anonymous said- “There are many heterosexual couples who engage in this type of behavior (anal sex). Are they to be condemned also?”
          I don’t think anyone’s condemning anyone here. As for myself, I clearly stated that condemnation “of the person” is not within my purview.

          Anonymous said- “AIDS was as prevalent in the heterosexual communities as it was in the homosexual ones but this fact was not news worthy at the time.”
          I cannot speak to the accuracy of this statement for unknown micro-communities at some point in the past. But, if the implication is that AIDS is just as prevalent in broader heterosexual communities as is in broader homosexual communities today, well then that’s just flat false. Again, from the AIDS.gov website; Quote- “Although MSM [Men who have Sex with Men] represent about 4% of the male population in the United States, in 2010, MSM accounted for 78% of new HIV infections among males and 63% of all new infections. MSM accounted for 54% of all people living with HIV infection in 2011, the most recent year these data are available.” https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/index.html

          Anonymous said- “Wake up Mike.”
          Ditto, Doctor.


    • Jesse:

      I am now 55; I came to myself, and then to my family and friends, while in college. I remember well my first time sharing myself with another questioning, confused, somewhat scared, student and the sudden euphoria of simply being held, touched, kissed, sharing the questions, the confusion and the fear. I fell in love too; but, as fleeting as it was, as was yours, it opened my heart and eyes that there are other men who “got it”. You put yourself out there, don’t be afraid to do so again. (In your case, while you suffered from heartache and pain, you also gave a great and wonderful gift; imagine all the thoughts you have struggled with and then add in sexual identity as wanting to be female. Your friend suffered a similar struggle as you, but even more so, as his dream included that he could be a girl in love with a boy. He got to experience being with a boy, but not as the girl, the she instead of the he.)

      Two thoughts for you: remember, you have struggled knowing being different for over decade and a half. You questioned yourself, your beliefs, your community and family has been a constant never-really-leaving your head that entire time. It is who you have been at the front of your being; for your family, though, this is all new to them — it will take time before they understand the full nature of what you have been through. It has taken my boyfriend/husband of 30 years practically 20 years before his Southern Baptist family got there. And now, his is a very loving family and relationship.

      Secondly, don’t allow others’ misuse of the historical context of the Bible abuse your beliefs. Best example, being Christian, your duty is to obey the words of Christ. Not the Old Testament and not any of the New Testament that do not reflect Jesus’ own words. Within all religious identities in the US, Southern Baptists have the highest of divorce rates, 55+% of all marriages among Southern Baptists end in divorce. And more than 75% of those divorces are due to adultery. And there is much adultery that does not end with divorce.

      Jesus spoke repeatedly and passionately against divorce and against adultery. And Jesus does not state a single word, not once in any of the Gospels, about male/male female/female. Not accepting gays/lesbians/trans with love and care is a direct violation of Jesus’ very words, his “one commandment – to love one another” John 13:33. Yet, while the Southern Baptist Convention rails against homosexuality, they accept adulterers, and remarry divorcees. They disobey Jesus’ clear and direct words, but are hypocrites to Jesus’ commandment — OR, they are not real Christians, hoping somehow they can fool their way to heaven by camouflaging their sins with self-righteous mockery against gays and lesbians.

      You are the only one who can take Jesus’ words forward in your life, OR, you are the only one to diminish your standing with Jesus by allowing unfaithful-to-Jesus words belittle or demean the Truth. DO NOT ALLOW FALSE WITNESSES DESTROY THE JESUS IN YOU YOU LOVE. Like the Mike Miller comment to your post, just who the hell is Mike Miller to call homosexuality a sin when Jesus himself did not; and for that matter, when God lists his Ten Commandments, commandments against lying, against killing, against idolism, against disobedience, et al. Those are the sins God exalts against; but homosexuality, those were not of God, those were citations by Moses of ancient Jewish laws. Follow the Jesus in your heart; find your way.

    • Jesse,
      I wonder if you’re still out there, and I hope things are going well for you. Mikeinasheville and I have debated here before. I’m going to surprise him by agreeing with him (partially, at least). So, let’s get to it.
      First, Mikeinasheville is right. Generally speaking, Christians are hypocrites. Let me say that again for the record… CHRISTIANS ARE HYPOCRITES! (Including myself.) But, in saying that, I’m not singling Christians out for special criticism. What I am doing is commenting on the fallibility of the human condition. At one time or another, on one issue or another, we are all hypocrites. In judging the merits of anyone’s position (on any issue), one should be mindful of hypocrisy. But don’t let the hypocrisy of some automatically diminish the merits of the arguments being made. Judge the argument on its own merits.

      Second, Mikeinasheville is right again. Not in the specific percentages that he cites concerning divorce rates among Southern Baptists, but in his thematic assertion that divorce rates are too high among Christians. Divorce rates are too high period… amongst all groups by most any measure.

      Third, Mikeinasheville makes a very good point. “Who the hell is Mike Miller to call homosexuality a sin?” None of us has the authority (moral or otherwise) to declare what is sin and what is not. There’s just one problem with Mikeinasheville’s protestation. I did not declare homosexuality to be sin. What I said was that I believe the behavior to be sinful. Could I be wrong? Absolutely.

      Lastly, Mikeinasheville is mistaken in both his citation and attribution of scripture. In terms of attribution, the scripture to which Mikeinasheville alludes is the “second greatest commandment,” and it is found in both the books of Matthew and Mark… not John. Each of these New Testament recitations is quoted from Leviticus in the Old Testament (or, Torah).
      In terms of citation, Mikeinasheville leaves out something very important. The commandments is not simply “to love your neighbor”, but “to love your neighbor as yourself.” Why is that important?
      A few words about the nature of sin: The Bible repeatedly refers to the “yoke of sin” and/or the “bondage of sin.” Sin is like an addiction, and it can become an oppressive slave master. I’m 59 now, but in my youth I dabbled in illicit drugs. I walked away from that many years ago, and I’m thankful not to be under the bondage of drug use. Well, if I don’t want the bondage of drug addiction for myself, it wouldn’t be very loving of me to affirm a similar bondage for my neighbor. That’s not a perfect implicit analogy. Illicit drugs are illegal (as they should be), and homosexuality is legal (as it should be). This is a great country, and each is at liberty to live as they wish. I understand that in order to secure my liberties, I must be willing to fight to secure the same liberties for my neighbor. But that doesn’t mean that I need affirm my neighbors’ choices.

      I wish you well.

    • Jesse,
      A few more words concerning mikeinasheville’s last paragraph:
      I’m not going to call mikeinasheville a “false prophet”, as he implied I was. Perhaps he’s just mistaken, or didn’t explain himself well. Words are important, and an emphasis on precision & clarity should accompany any attempt to witness to another. The “sins” mikeinasheville attributes to God’s Ten Commandments simply are not precisely forbidden by those Ten Commandments. There is no commandment specifically against lying, killing, idolism, or disobedience. Let’s look at each of those individually.
      Lying- What the commandment actually says is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” That means it is sinful to lie “about” someone else. It says nothing concerning lying “to” someone else. (Ex: As a child, Jesse takes a cookie without his mother’s permission. Mom asks, “Jesse, did you take a cookie out of the cookie jar?” Jesse answers, “No Mom, I didn’t.”) Strictly speaking, Jesse has not broken that commandment. Is Jesse’s lie still sin? Yes… because he has broken two other commandments: “Thou shalt not steal”, and “Honor thy mother and father.” One does not honor their parents by withholding information from them to which they are entitled.
      Killing- What the commandment actually say is “Thou shalt not commit murder.” “Murder” and “killing” are two different things. To kill in defense of self or others is not murder. To kill for food is not murder. To kill for a righteous call, as is sometimes the case in war, is not murder.
      Idolism- What the commandment actually says is “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” There are 2 very important phrases in this commandment: “other gods”, and “before me.” “Other gods” can mean many things, from actual “other deities” (real or imagined, like: Satan, Belial, Buddha, Zeus, cosmic forces, Mother Earth. etc.) to material or personal pursuits like, that new car, or new house, or an education. It can also mean another person. Basically, anything that we give priority in our lives over and above God becomes an “other god.” Also, in the context of this commandment, “before me” doesn’t simply imply “first in sequence.” “Before me” also means “in front of me” or “between us.” If you place an object “before” someone, you’ve placed it in front of that individual. If you’ve placed it in front of that someone, you’ve placed it between the two of you. God wants nothing standing between the two of you; not another deity (real or imagined) , not a selfish pursuit, not any material item(s), not another person, not even a revered preacher. If we let them, any of these things can become an idol.
      Disobedience- I’m not sure which specific or group of commandments mikeinasheville is referring to here. God wants us to be obedient to Him, His word, and any figure of authority to whom God has given legitimate authority over us. But in the absence of righteous authority, we have no obligation to be obedient to unrighteous demands. Actually, I believe there are times & situations where disobedience is not only warranted, but morally & spiritually obligatory.
      Lastly, mikeinasheville’s closing words of advice were “Follow the Jesus in your heart; find your way.” I’m not certain exactly what mike meant by this, and it is not my intent to impugn the purity & benevolence of his intent. But words are important. Perhaps it would be better to “Follow the Jesus of the Bible; find His way.”

      I wish you well.

  16. I have a gay son. Not one moment since he told me he was gay have I ever not loved him with all my heart! Loving a gay child is the most unexplainedable love I could ever feel for any human being! After all he is a human being walking on the most incredible, beautiful plant in the universe. He just happen to be born gay! Love MOM!

  17. Hello. I am a 45 year old transwoman. I came out to my parents last June, almost a year ago now, after a terrifying night where I was assaulted, and lost everything I ever had in my life, except my life.

    It took them some time to overcome their fear, but they were able eventually to SEE me, and to see that as my new self I was very happy.

    Your story has caught in my chest, as I am a parent of two LGBT children myself. My denial of who I was hovered over my life for four and a half decades, an uneasy truce I made with my social identity and my real one. I have brought them into harmony, with the love of my parents which is all that saved me. One of my children still speaks to me, the other does not, I hope that can change for the better.

    I do not pray, but I certainly hope that your story touches many more souls, and reaches outwards. I do not know what my parents thought of in the month that I was unable to speak to them, but I wonder if they found your site. It certainly seemed that at some point, they heard or read something like this and for that I am of course very grateful. Your willingness to share yourselves and the story of your lovely son has touched me very deeply.

    Peace and Love, Maxie.

  18. Linda and Rob,

    I attended the Reformation Project this past weekend in Atlanta. I want to personally thank you both for your testimony and witness that you shared that weekend. It was truly moving and I do hope and pray by the sharing of your story and of Ryan’s struggles, that parents that are presented with similar situations will benefit from this. As you said that God was abundantly present in Ryan’s hospital room with your family, so to was he this past week when you shared your pain, love, and faith with us all.

    I hired a young man 2 years ago who is gay. He has shared with me comments from his parents regarding his homosexuality and their lack of acceptance. As they have said, they don’t wear that cross around their neck for him to be gay. I hope and pray that by my sharing your story with them that they will eventually find the true love and acceptance that Christ has for all His children, gay straight, lesbian, transgender.

    Thank you again for sharing your family’s stories for others to benefit.

    Blessings to you both

  19. This story could happen to anyone. All the parents can do is learn to truly love their kid. If u don’t love your own kid for being gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, and transexual, then u obviously don’t love your own kid. If they know who they are and accept it then why the hell would you judge your child for it? I fully support lbgpt. Because I’m bisexual i have no problem with them. My parents are lesbian they are getting married tomorrow. And I fully support them.

  20. Thank you for sharing your story. My condolences to you and your family. May God comfort you and give you peace.

  21. Dear Linda and Rob, I first heard your story through a YouTube video last year at the gay Christian conference in 2014. Nothing but tears filled my eyes as I could relate so much to the story. I am a lesbian. I was raised under strong Christian home. I went to church, believed and loved God, went to Bible studies, knew the bible- but I always felt like something was wrong with me. I didn’t know if it had to do with the molestation at a young age or if I was born this way. I felt attracted to girls. I prayed and fasted, went to deliverance classes, counseling – anything and everything that would take the gay away. When I finally realized it wouldn’t go away, I decided to come out to my mother. She cried and told me I was believing a lie, that it was just a phase and needed counseling. That God made marriage between a man and woman and this was a perverted life style. I too, like your beautiful son Ryan, felt depressed, suicidal, rejected and alone. My mom and stepped dad said I couldn’t live there, living in sin. I moved to California, started drinking and using Meth to ease the pain. It hurt so much but I knew my mom only was doing what she thought was right. I stopped talking to her for awhile.. and she later apologized, begged me to come home and cried. I grew a hate for God and my parents. I felt so unloved by God. I questioned him. And yelled at him. Why he didn’t change me? I did everything. I met my gf and fell in love. I battled with self hate still and guilt. Its so hard to break away from the thoughts that God won’t accept you for being gay. I had attempted suicide twice but God had other plans. My mom finally came around and accepts me and my gf into her home. She still stands by her beliefs, but she no longer preaches, no longer tells me I am a sin. She just loves. It took awhile to find healing, to realize God loves me just as I am and I don’t have to change to make him love me. I still battle with thoughts time to time about my eternity. Its so hard. Thank you so much for sharing your precious story. I know he is looking down from heaven with such joy and love on you guys. I cried and felt so much of God love in listening to your story. Please continue to keep sharing. So many people need hope and reassurance that God loves them. ❤

    • kikiinspire…I am so thankful that you are now thriving, friend! If your mom ever wants to join a private Facebook group for Christian moms with LGBT kids, please have her message me on FB (linda mueller robertson). I think the other moms could REALLY encourage her in her questions about what the Bible teaches. Thank you so much for commenting…I am so thankful that God had other plans for you!! ❤

      • I just told her right now. She is taking a little break from fb and social media, but once she is on, she said she will message you. I know she has a lot of questions. I also know, she was moved deeply by your story. I showed her the video as well, and she said it brought her to tears. So I know, she is finally listening. I just hope one day she will be open to coming to my wedding and really accepting me, even if I am gay. Thank you so much for replying back. God bless you and your family ❤

  22. Thank you for sharing your story, I too am gay, bisexual actually. Im only out to my friends, but because of my sexuality I stopped going to church, I attend online mass now because I’m afraid of walking in and standing up for LGBT rights. I know someday soon the church will come around and we will all be able to show who we truly are.

  23. Linda, Thank you for sharing your story. May an extra measure of grace be yours on what is most likely a very “tender” day for you today.

  24. The courage to share your journey is amazing. Tears ran down my face as I read your story. I too am a mother of a 15 year old who recently expressed gays thoughts, our journey has been heartwrenching being born & raised Catholic, but ultimately my “unconditional love” for him is keeping my head above the water. His courage has been so amazing to me that if he can have that-I can have nothing but more & more true love for him every day! I feel alone in this but God is by my side for ultimately he said “love one another” -he put NO conditions on it. Blessings to you and your family and THANK YOU again from the bottom of my heart!

    • Elizabeth,
      I, too, am Catholic, and 2/5 of my kids are gay… We are blessed by being in a sacramental Church. While traditionally Catholicism has been homophobic, the essence of our beliefs completely contradict this, and our Church is—I believe—rapidly moving beyond this (and “rapid” in a 2000-year old denomination may not be “rapid” enough, but look at Pope Francis, who said, “Who am I to judge?” and that “There is no place for homophobia in the Church”).

      We are blessed because the essence of Catholicism is about ultimate mystical, sacramental union with the Divine Trinity. And that in itself is so far beyond any kind of judgment of any kind of love that homophobia is actually blasphemy. If you really delve into true Catholicism, that’s plain to see… Read St Teresa of Avila or St Therese of Lisieux, or any of the great mystics. Homophobia just doesn’t jive with that kind of intimacy with He Who Is Love.

      But yeah, our church is definitely not immune to the homophobia historically. I don’t deny that… I think it’s just easier for us to see how false that way of thinking is than for some of the Protestant denominations who base everything on the Bible.

    • No movie in the works, Edwin…except that our story will be featured in the sequel to “For The Bible Tells Me So.” Filming is starting this fall, with a Spring 2017 release date, I think. Best to you, Edwin!

  25. What an amazing and insightful story. So helpful. We are Christians with a gay son. This was helpful to many. Thank you ! Thank you! Thank you! So sorry for your terrible loss.

  26. Wow… In reading down through a lot more of these posts, I really have to wonder what kind of “god” people think we have? What kind of “god” do you so-called Christians worship?? Maybe I just don’t understand, because I’m Catholic. But the whole scripture thing really causes my hair to stand on end. Granted, Catholics have always traditionally been much more about a personal and intimate relationship with God than what Leviticus said, etc. I mean—we take His Body and Blood into our bodies weekly at Mass. How much more intimate can you get? Bring to mind St Therese of Lisieux or Padre Pio, or even St Teresa of Calcutta. They were not about quoting the Old Testament.

    While I admit to typical Catholic ignorance of the Old Testament, I am very familiar with the Gospels. Very. And Jesus did say that He was the Fulfillment. Which means that He was (is) the REASON… and He also said “I am the New Covenant.” This is why Christians are not Jewish. He changed MANY things from the Old Testament. An eye-for-an-eye was changed to “turn the other cheek,” for example. Jesus is the source, the Alpha and the Omega, and so, in fact, we do look to HIM—and not the rest of Scripture—to be our ultimate guide. As Christians. That’s what makes us Christian. He also said He would lead us into all Truths, and that He had many things to reveal to us in time. So maybe, just maybe, He’s revealing to us that we need to look to Him and His words/message rather than Leviticus, and maybe, just maybe, He (with the Holy Spirit) is leading us into a greater understanding of His amazing and incomprehensible love manifest in not only heterosexual marriage/union, but also same-sex marriage/union. Maybe. Maybe we’re being enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Don’t shut that possibility away, or you’re really in trouble!

    As I read through some of these comments, I was just struck: How can these “Christians” worship a god who would “throw” anyone into Hell for eternity for ANY kind of love? I am astounded… The God I love (Father, Son and Holy Spirit—made visible in the Person of Christ) is:
    1) Love beyond description or comprehension. Love so great that we would wither in His presence. Love so unimaginable and unfathomable that we cannot even grasp it in words or thoughts. Nothing, nothing, nothing but pure, incredible, everlasting, outrageous, awesome love. From the Creator of the universe who holds the most distant galaxy as His handiwork in the palm of His hand, we have this roaring, refining, glorious, incredible LOVE… and we are hung up on laws from the Old Testament? Get over it. Move beyond to see WHO HE IS at the core… Even Jesus spoke out against that kind of thinking. He is just too much love to be contained in this Christian rant of scriptural passages written before the Incarnation.
    2) He is Beauty unfathomable. We can’t glimpse on it, because it is too much. Too powerful. Too glorious. He is not some bearded guy pointing fingers. He is absolute, pure, incredible beauty. So irresistible. We would fall at His feet to see Him stand before us. He is THAT much beauty.
    3) He is Mercy unending. He forgave the guys who were nailing Him to the Cross as He was being nailed! This is our God. Not some law-spewing, judgmental dude about to cast us into eternal suffering for loving with the love He’s given to us as a gift. ANY of us!!
    4) He is Creativity beyond our imagination. From the funky shape of the hippopotamus to the spots on a jaguar to the glorious sunsets to the roaring waves of the ocean. Every snowflake is unique. Every genome of every species is a unique manifestation of his Creativity. He is diverse and creative beyond what we can fathom. OF COURSE He created same-sex love! He can’t “contain” His love between different genders only! He wants to spread it everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, and we are BLASPHEMOUS to judge that!!

    It’s like you guys are speaking of a different god from the Christian God… What are you being taught in your churches? Are all Protestants this limited in their thinking? I know they can’t be!! Is it just evangelicals? Someone enlighten me, because I worship a different God here! Some of these preachers need to hop off their pulpits, because they are spreading nothing but misunderstanding. How much that must hurt He who would have hung on the Cross for all of eternity for any one of us, gay or straight, black or white, JUST to draw us closer to Him!!

    Stop playing into the enemy’s hands and get with the Program. Just ask Him to TRULY reveal Himself to you, and you will be astounded that you ever could have thought ANY love—same sex or otherwise—was not OF HIS DOING.

    Sorry, for the preachy nature of this post, but I just can’t stand by and watch my Deepest Love—my beautiful God—be SO misunderstood by those who claim to follow Him…

    God bless you all… and He does, because He can’t help Himself 🙂


    • Being enlighted by the Holy Spirit on homosexual marriage. Then the Holy Spirit would have to make Jesus a liar by changing Jesus definition of marriage. Jesus said marriage is only between a man and a woman. Any thing outside of that is sin worthy of everlasting damnation. How can you claim to know so much about Jesus and not know that? What comes out of a man’s heart defiles him: porneia. Greek for sex outside of marriage. The only marriage offered. Jesus speaking in John 3 to Nicodemus asked Nicodemus how would he ever understand spiritual things if he didn’t understand natural things. If you can’t understand how unnatural homosexuality is then it testifies against you to knowing the spiritual of the matter properly. Jesus’ words not mine. Also read Lev 18 whole chapter. Is a law outside of the levitical code. God says that he judged the gentile nations without the law for committing the acts in Lev 18 because it is so evil it defiles event he ground.Leviticus 18:22 a man shall not have intercourse with another man. God makes no distinction about love or no love. Is all sin and was not just given to the Jews to follow but is built in law so that God Himself says He judges and kills people who do the things listed there without having the law. Which Paul discusses in Romans 1 and 2.

      • If you are Christian, you follow Jesus’ teaching over the Old Testament (Leviticus). The Old Testament says many things that we don’t follow. For example, not to mix seeds and fabrics (Leviticus 19:19); not to eat shellfish (Lev. 11: 9-12) (do you think people eating shrimp are subject to “everlasting damnation”?) 😉 ; not to have sex with your wife on her period; not to eat pork (so do bacon-eaters make God angry??); not to harvest the corners of fields… I mean seriously. These things were said in a certain time and place to an illiterate tribal people. God moves women/men closer to Him through enlightenment. That is the essence of evolution. GOD BECAME MAN, SO THAT MAN COULD BECOME GOD. He stooped down to us in the Incarnation, and abased Himself through Kenosis, to elevate us to Him. That’s what it’s all about for Christians; not Leviticus… There are many things that the Old Testament states and many laws given that no longer apply. WHAT APPLIES IS JESUS’ WORDS AND MESSAGE, and what He revealed to us about the Trinity. If you don’t believe that, you are not Christian. Jesus did not leave things out. Do you think for one minute He would have failed to warn against homosexuality if it caused us eternal damnation? Of course not!! He was very, very careful to let us know what exactly would separate us from Him in eternity (Matthew, Chapter 25): failing to feed and clothe the hungry/poor, failing to give water to the thirsty, failing to care for the sick, failing to visit prisoners in prison, and… MOST importantly, He stated, “Whatever you do to the LEAST OF THESE, you do to me.” Failing to do these things was worthy of being cast into the Fire (but who really knows what that fire is? Perhaps it’s the fire of the Holy Spirit. Maybe sinners can’t handle it, causing them “Hell.” Because God couldn’t have created Hell, since He’s incapable of creating evil by virtue of Who He is. And He is the only Creator. And there is no place where God isn’t, so He must be in Hell, too… but that’s another argument for another time)… Jesus also spoke out STRONGLY against hurting children. Which would include pedophilia, which is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THING THAN HOMOSEXUALITY. He said anyone who hurts a child would be better off with a millstone cast around their necks and being thrown into the sea (Luke 17:2).

        So Jesus was very, very specific about exactly WHAT separates us from God for eternity… He wouldn’t have FAILED TO MENTION homosexuality. He would have been very, very specific about it. He didn’t even say divorce and adultery was worthy of eternal damnation!

        So you say Jesus defined marriage as being ONLY between a man and a woman. HE DID NOT. He did not say “only.” Do you think He would have forgotten to say that, if He’s God, and that would cause us eternal damnation? No. He left NOTHING out of what He revealed to us. He’s incapable of mistakes. He’s the Second Person of the Trinity… So what, exactly, DID Jesus say about marriage?? In Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 19, Jesus said, ““Have you not read that He Who made them in the first place made them man and woman? For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one. So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together.” He is stating a fact when he says God made us “man and woman.” Yes, God did. No one will dispute that. We have 2 genders. All living creatures have 2 genders. But He did NOT say men cannot marry men, and women cannot marry women. He just stated a fact about gender. Since there was no idea with the Jews of same-sex marriage, He didn’t need to talk about that, so He used the terms “man and wife.” But you could call another man a “wife,” and His message doesn’t change. No one had ever even considered same-sex marriage, I’m sure. He WAS defining marriage ONLY in that He was saying that marriage causes 2 people to become One Flesh. He did NOT say that those 2 people had to be one man and one woman! He did not say “Marriage must be between a man and woman.” He stated that God made both genders, and then He went on to define marriage ONLY in that it causes 2 people to become 1 flesh.

        But, more importantly, I would never worship a God who is not Love. And a God of Love does not cast people into eternal damnation. I know with absolute certainty, BECAUSE I do know and love Our Lord, that this is not the essence of Who God Is. I really, really honestly DO feel sorry for the so-called “Christians” who take every word of the Bible so literally that—to them—it is all about laws and codes and judgment. This is one of the saddest off-shoots that has occurred since the Protestant Reformation. How far we’ve strayed from true understanding of the Blessed Trinity! It’s like the Islamic religion with its extremism. Similar in many ways to Sharia Law and the Taliban, really. Because it’s about following a “code” to gain graces and favors so as not to be eternally tortured. We cannot truly do that. We are sinful, we are fallen, and we are mere creatures. No one can live happily under that kind of gauntlet. And God is NOT an angry judge. Quite the opposite! He is Divine Mercy. God DIED A HORRIBLE DEATH just to draw us close to Him. To draw ALL Creation close to Him.

        These arguments are frustrating for me, because this attitude has nothing to do with God, really. This is not what He is about, Joshua. Jesus even spoke out against following the “law” to the letter in such a way as to cause it to separate us from Him. It must grieve Him so much to see this, since He adores each and every one of us so very much… Have you ever stopped to consider that He is deeply, passionately IN LOVE with you? Yes, THAT is Who Christ is! THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERS (“Through Him all things were made”) is so madly, passionately and deeply IN LOVE with YOU that He would have hung on the Cross for all of eternity just to bring you into His heart… Ponder that, and then close Leviticus!

        Actually, really—do yourself a favor, and put down your Old Testament and spend some quiet time, with absolute silence, meditating on the Passion. And while you meditate on it, realize that Christ would have gone through it for the most hardened sinner if that person was the only person on earth. And realize that THE CRUCIFIXION/RESURRECTION is so much MORE than atonement for our sins. It is God’s response to evil in all forms, including judgment of others, for all time. He gave us freedom, so we sinned and Creation was “fallen,” so He answered that by taking all pain/death/sin/evil onto Himself, and turning it around into LOVE. That is what we celebrate at Easter. That is God’s way of conquering Hell and evil for all time… and then, when you’re finished meditating on that, ask God to show you His love. Because it is not even CLOSE to your idea of Him! Not even close. You are so far off the mark, that the things you write sadden me; and also make me just shake my head at how far we’ve come from the likes of the greatest friends of God’s in history; for example—St Francis of Assisi. Is true Catholicism and evangelical Christianity even the same basic religion? I guess it really isn’t. I know and love and worship a very, very different God from the one you do. I feel very sorry for you. Who can possibly live under the threat of eternal damnation if they break a code? And seriously, WHO WOULD WORSHIP A GOD LIKE THAT?? It’s impossible to love a God like that.

        We are supposed to be more intimate with God than we are with our spouses. We are supposed to be madly, head-over-heels in love with Him. You can’t be madly in love with an abuser.

        I hope someday you see Him for Who He TRULY is, because you will then love Him enough to die for Him, and nothing else will matter.

        • Your argument makes no sense concerning marriage. Everything in the Scripture has to do with marriage of man and a woman. Never homosexual. Jesus uses the word porneia. Means sex outside of marriage. Only ever talks about one kind of marriage. So with all your twists and turns you still can’t show one homosexual marriage in scripture. Even Jesus calls His church to be a bride. How very unloving of Him not to call the church His spouse or everlasting partner. How unloving of Him to blatantly put a heterosexual example only and disregard the feelings of homosexuals. Only the marriage bed undefiled. Yet only ever one marriage. Please tell me where there is any homosexual marriage in the Scriptures. Anywhere. Please, if all you can do is go on and on about how you can’t serve a God who wouldn’t accept anal sex between two men then just don’t respond. Shalom Aleichem .

        • A few points to add to discussion.
          There are many Christian ministers who believe in same sex marriage. Some major churches are accepting of it.
          There is evidence that the Catholic Church performed them until the 12th century.
          The Bible is extremely difficult for us to understand. We don’t know if we even have all of it. The Bible has been translated many times and man has certainly used it before for personal reasons.
          Once read that only parts of Bible we can be sure are God’s words are the Ten Commandments and parts in Red.
          All medical science points to homosexuality as not being a choice but rather something that is decided before birth.
          I have hard time understanding a God who would condemn anyone for something they have no control over.
          Jesus also warned us about being concerned about the mote in our neighbor’s eye and ignoring the beam in our own.
          Sorry if disjointed but just some of my thoughts.

        • If that is your belief then get out of the church. Because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean others don’t. If you don’t understand it then why go to church. How do you even know your saved or if their is a God? This makes no sense to me. We don’t know what to think about religion but let’s just go anyway and anything that anyone teaches that we don’t like then we can just get rid of it and do what we want because nobody knows anyways. Wow! Then why such the fight in the church to make it accept homosexuality? If it is all just a mystery and why if it is ok to make us accept you out of not knowing why can’t you accept us for not wanting homosexuality in the church with the same reasoning. Instead we get militants like matthew vines who openly lie and his followers refuse to acknowledge it even when confronted with the facts. That is what baffles me. When I can take what Matthew Vines says and show it to be false they refuse to acknowledge and just march on in the mandate. Don’t believe me. Write me back and I’ll walk you through 5 lies from Matthew and tell you the truth and where you can hear him or read him yourself. Also just look at other posts some are on there. God Bless.

        • Joshua, it sure seems like you’ve missed the message of Jesus…the message of the Gospel. You’re so focused on the law, that you entirely miss grace & love. Both Jesus and Paul said it…that the ONLY thing that matters is love. All of our obedience is worth nothing if we don’t love others.

        • Yes love is needed to not be a hollow sound. You accuse me of only being law. Please elaborate on your judgement instead of just doing a drive-by unclear judgement. How am I only law and not grace and love? Jesus who was perfect grace and love called a woman a dog, the Pharisees the children of the devil, Peter satan. Please explain how I am not grace and love. I am not the one lying to people that they can go against God and expect to get into heaven by not repenting of homosexuality. Remember the good news is this: repent for the kingdom of heaven is near. Please though show me where i am without love and grace and just law.

        • “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” is NOT the Gospel. We’d ALL be damned if that were true, because we all mess up, all the time!
          I am not judging you…I am just expressing my opinion, as you have done. Have a good Sunday, Joshua…

        • Already did…look back at my post in which I quote the exact passages, Joshua.
          This exchange is becoming a waste of time…you aren’t open to reconsidering your view of grace and I am not open to reconsidering my experience and confidence in grace. Let’s let it go, so we can both spend more time doing the things that Jesus called us to do in Matthew 25, okay? We aren’t helping to feed, clothe, house or comfort anyone by engaging in this futile argument.

    • You say to follow Jesus over the law. Problem: Love your neighbor as yourself= Leviticus 19:18. How can God add to marriage now when In the Bible He and all the writers said only between man and woman and sex outside of that is sin? All those people in hell because He wouldn’t let them get married till now? Also your comment about people of Bible times being illiterate is very intellectually dishonest. They were not illiterate. You would have to say the Bible is lying when it talks of the education of Moses, the people of Israel, Daniel, etc. Also would have to ignore all the places where it says in the Bible where “God said” is written. Is my main point with this argument. You have to attack and degrade God and His writings in Scripture to allow for Homosexual marriage. Please show me specifically where God allows homosexual marriage from Scripture. I’ll save you time. You can’t. That’s why your hole message here doesn’t do that. It has to try another way. Which is what you did.

  27. I’m only going to comment once before unsubscribing from this back and forth bickering between you guys.
    Your hateful speech toward one another, as well as, your condescending comments about people you consider sinners only drives people away from God. It does nothing to bring them to God. And, while I’m no Biblical scholar, having only read the bible front to back twice, I can say with some certainty (although I feel sure you guys will hand pick some verse that you claim proves me wrong) that God doesn’t approve of his followers pushing “sinners” away from him. And, believe it or not, that is just what you are doing. And strangely, y’all seem to take pride in doing so.

  28. I am not sure if this is a duplicate response but here I go again.
    Mike, I will keep my response short.
    1- I was at the trenches during the AIDS crisis, you were not.
    2- Babies get AIDS from their moms who obviously had heterosexual sex. I saw many cases during this time and for some unknown reason this was not reported.
    3- High risk sexual behavior is when you have unprotected sexual relationships with multiple partners.
    4- Monogamous gay or heterosexual relationships have a very low incidence of STD.
    5- There is an alarming AIDS crisis brewing among retirees and college students.
    6-In my opinion, if you truly love someone, ether gay or straight, you should have the right to express your feeling without any one judging you. And remember the golden rule: Do to others as you would like others do to you.

    • Pediatra, I know I am not the Mike to whom you responded. While I disagree with Mike MIller’s theological view of homosexuality, it does no good trying to eliminate certain facts of life, even when inconvenient to the argument. The argument is whether homosexuality is compatible with a sincerely held belief in Christianity.

      I too was in the trenches during the AIDS crisis, doing my contribution knowing and believing that that help and support was going to be needed when my time came (I tested positive in 1986; based on T-cell count in 1987, probably exposed around 1980). My boyfriend at the time, now husband, coped being negative with it all too; together we buried far more friends than 25-30 year-olds should ever have to.

      World-wide sexual orientation of those infected balances out relatively speaking. Nonetheless, exposure increases for both partners engaged in unprotected annal sex than unprotected heterosexual vaginal sex. How much riskier, well, there are too many variables to truly know taking into consideration how the health and welfare of those infected in Third-World poverty and the US. But why argue otherwise? For millennia man has learned to solve disease and illness with methods of protection and treatment.

      Mike Miller’s homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle, and therefor “proves” the righteousness of Old Testament nonsense, is a strawman argument. So what if there is a differentiation in mortality rates of gay men and straight men? There is differentiation of all sorts of among all soft of groups, and they are all based on personal decisions each of us make for ourselves. There are higher cancer rates among women who do not bear children than women who do. Does that mean nuns are sinning by choosing to devote themselves to their church rather than becoming mothers? Does the fact that protected annal sex practically eliminate the differentiation of risk? And, isn’t it fair to ask why new infection rates are substantially higher among gay youth then straight youth? But these are all beside the point. The point is whether living a homosexual normative life is compatible with a sincere Christian theological view.

      What is important is that men and women of goodwill are taking the spirit of Jesus’ New Commandment to their heart, and are changing the minds of many fellow Christians of goodwill. Until the dedication of the Metropolitan Community Church in 1968, there was zero inclusiveness of gay Christians anywhere in the world. Today, tens of thousands of parishes with memberships in the tens of millions welcome gay men and lesbians into their hearts and churches. They have found that indeed Jesus’ love is unconditional and is not based on sexual orientation. This victory is miraculous; rejoice.

      Oh, and because my theism is not Christian, I get to add, suck spoiled eggs to those who claim Jesus in your heart while disobeying His command.

      • I like how I am the one called the jerk etc for stating the truth, threatened with being removed, and have had messages not posted that dared question where homosexual marriage is in the Scriptures. Yet this message from mikeinasheville gets published. Speaks volumes to the agenda anf true spirit of this movement.

        • Joshua, this comment thread on this specific blog is not part of ANY movement. This blog only exists to share OUR story, not to provide a forum for anyone else. If you had a blog, it would be your right to approve or disapprove any comments that were posted. But this is not your blog, this is mine. And if I feel that your comment is disrespectful, demeaning and rude to others, I can choose not to approve it. If you’d like to freely share your views with the public, do so on your own blog, where you can say whatever you want in whatever manner you choose. 🙂
          P.S. If you’ll read back through the comments on this blog, there are hundreds and hundreds of comments stating views that are VERY different than mine, and many from people who have called me far worse things than “jerk.”

        • Well said, Linda. This whole back and forth bickering between these self-absorbed “Christian” backseat theologians does nothing to address the tragic loss of your son. This type of name calling and drama is exactly why so many gay men and women turn away from main stream Christian teaching.

        • My point wasn’t that it disagreed with me. It was the ending attitude that I was commenting on. I understand how a blog works and that different opinions are welcome. However, my answers to direct responses to me have not been posted that disappoint me. I do thank you though for the many comments you have allowed to be posted. Sorry if the movement statement was taken as being only about you. It wasn’t meant to be. Will try to be more precise in my words in the future.

    • Pediatra,

      I’ll post your remarks, 1 by 1, and follow with a short response.

      “1- I was at the trenches during the AIDS crisis, you were not.”
      Acknowledged… what’s your point? Compelling & tragic as they may be, anecdotal stories are insufficient to support scientific (medical) claims. As a doctor, I’m sure you know that.

      “2- Babies get AIDS from their moms who obviously had heterosexual sex. I saw many cases during this time and for some unknown reason this was not reported.”
      Yes, it was. I remember hearing and reading multiple instances of said reporting. But I don’t understand how that’s relevant to what I challenged you on. I never said “babies don’t get HIV”, and I never claimed that heterosexual sex was without risk.

      “3- High risk sexual behavior is when you have unprotected sexual relationships with multiple partners.”
      I agree… that having unprotected sexual relationships with multiple partners is indeed “high risk.” But that is not the only factor that puts one at risk.

      “4- Monogamous gay or heterosexual relationships have a very low incidence of STD.”
      Agreed… with two caveats. The first caveat is dependent on how one defines “monogamy.” That’s really tangential, and I won’t get into that. But the second caveat is that STDs are not the only risk factor of sexual relationships.

      “5- There is an alarming AIDS crisis brewing among retirees and college students.”
      In my opinion (and I’m sure you’d agree), one diagnosis is a crisis. Additionally, for those engaging in high risk behavior, age is irrelevant to the risk of infection they incur. But the fact is that “retirees” make up a relatively small percentage of new diagnoses.

      As of 2012, the percentage of Americans that were age 65+ was 13.4%. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States#Ages
      In 2013, in the US and its dependents, estimated diagnoses in “retirees” (age 65+) were 1,045. That’s just over 2% of the total estimated new diagnoses of 47,352. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/age/olderamericans/index.html

      MSM homosexuals-
      As of 2010, this group represented an estimated just under 2% of Americans. Yet in that same year, this group accounted for a sobering 63% of new diagnoses (21,800). https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/

      So we have 13.4% of the population yielding 2% of new diagnoses, versus 2% of the population yielding 63% of new diagnoses. Relatively speaking, where is the real crisis?

      [Your last remark has 2 parts, which I’ll address separately.]
      “6- In my opinion, if you truly love someone, ether gay or straight, you should have the right to express your feeling without any one judging you.”
      I disagree. Of course, any 2 consenting adults (gay or straight) should (and do) have the right to express their feelings. I certainly haven’t argued against that. And I’ve been quite clear that “judging the person” is not within my purview. But there’s a difference between “judging the person” and “judging behavior.” Should I [or anyone else] not have the right to form and voice an opinion or thought? That wouldn’t be a world I’d wish to live in, and I don’t think you would either.

      “6- And remember the golden rule: Do to others as you would like others do to you.”
      I’m not really sure what you mean by this. Do you think I’m not? If I were proceeding down a dangerous path, I would hope those who care for me would warn me of the dangers ahead. I believe the second greatest commandment requires that of me.

      I wish you well.

  29. First, I want to thank Linda for this blog as it honors, in my opinion, the memory of her son. He did not die in vain.
    Mike and Joshua ( I think),
    Let me clarify one thing which I omitted in my response. When I stated I was at the trenches of the AIDS crisis. I neglected to state that I was a young doctor serving poor migrant communities in the 1980’s when the AIDS crisis had just began and the HIV virus had not been isolated. It was a prevalent belief at the times that AIDS was a exclusively gay disease. In the meantime I was seeing babies die if this horrendous illness. That’s what I meant when I said that fact was under reported at the time. Of course it was reported after. But now I wonder if that delay was due to people with preconceived anti gay opinions thinking it was God’s punishment to them.
    My point is that any one engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners is at risk of STD including AIDS and that many of the new infections now are in the retiree communities and in college students. It is now recommended to screen all teenagers 16 and over for this disease. There are things that increase transmission. For example, one of those is not being circumcised but that does not mean that uncircumcised males are sinners…Anal sex has a higher incidence too but the incidence diminishes by protection and monogamy.
    As for judging behaviors, that’s absolutely ridiculous. Behaviors accepted in one society may be unacceptable in others. What happens in intimacy of two consenting adults in their private space is nobody’s business in my opinion. What makes you a good Christian is following the teaching of Jesus such as being a good human being, helping the needy and treating others as you would like others to treat you.

    • Why is it that whenever anyone says we should follow the teachings of Jesus they always leave out His teachings on judging and how to judge others properly to set them free from sin or to keep the leaven of sin out of the fellowship of believers? Matthew 18:15-17 and Matthew 7:1-5. What also is wrong with Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 5 of how to deal with sin in the church? I think the problem is when sin isn’t sin or when sin is claimed to be unknown or when we are in sin our judgement is weakened as was King David’s when he sinned. Let’s do what the Scriptures call us to do. In the full council of God. Paul Acts 20:26-32.

      • Back in late June this year I flew to Houston to visit my former coworker who is gay. I hired him out of college and soon I became a “father” to him. You see his parents did not accept him at all. That weekend in June was houston’s Pride celebration and I chose that time so I could attend in support of him. it also happened to be the weekend the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality.

        While at Pride there was an area separated out and with about 8 people there. They held signs saying homo sex is sin, Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve, God hates fags, AIDS – Gods solution for fags and other similar statements.

        One man stood there shouting through a mega phone how he damned all of us to hell, how God will struck us down for our wickedness, repent now before it is too late, and that all that we’re celebrating makes us an abomination before God. While doing that all he and the others stood waving their Bibles in the air. They waved their bibles in the air while they shouted hatred towards God’s creation! I could not help but think 2 things

        1) for all his ranting and raving, for all his yelling to the point of being horse, I doubt he changed anyone’s mind there. I do however believe that he drove more people away from God and the good news God wants us to share. I would bet many that thought about attending church for the first time decided – no way I would go to a place where people act like that. All because of his demonstration of what he believes God wants him to judge And condemn others

        2) it is my belief the God I worship bowed his head and shed a tear that day, for there was nothing about love or charity in that man and those with him.

        I could not help but think of that scene when reading the post about how we are to call out and judge people one on one and then publicly.

        And before the responses come, Yes we as a judge others when we discuss and implement the penal code etc as that is part of living in a society. But to judge some one for who they love is a different thing.

        Jeffrey R. Weis Jweis@rochester.rr.com Sent from my iPhone 585.455.2233


        • James, the tactics you speak of witnessing in Houston are the tactics that Joshua uses in his posts. Joshua cites Matthew 18, where Jesus teaches to object to those who trespass against one’s self by exposing the faults of the trespass, first individually, and should that fail, to bring fellow church members for assistance. Yet, Joshua takes the lesson and twists the lesson. The lesson is not a call for anyone, or their church, to call out sins against God; it is a lesson on addressing faults against fellow man/woman.

          Then Joshua, quite oddly, takes Jesus’ lecture to not judge one’s fellow man, into a call to judge thy neighbor. Mathew 7 explicitly states “Judge not, that ye not be judged.”

          And then the Joshuas of the faith go on to take the words of men and elevating them to the words of Jesus and God.

          Indeed, the lessons of Jesus, cited by Joshua in Matthew 7 and 18 are teachings that judgment by man are to be limited to conduct of one with another; that no man can, though, be a judge to God’s commands.

          Fortunately, there are more and more of believers such as yourself and the Robertsons rising to Jesus’ call to love thy neighbors. Thank you.

        • Thanks for the thanks; sorry about the name mix up. Sometimes I just start typing faster than my brain keeps ups!

        • You can’t tell someone to not judge without judging. Do you understand that. Jesus didn’t say not to judge. Read the whole passage. It is a call not to judge until you have dealt with your own issue in that area then go judge and help the other one get set free. If you read the whole passage you would understand that since after saying don’t judge lest you be judged Jesus goes on to explain how to judge!!!! Come on mike can’t complain about me by saying we are not to judge when you write a letter judging me!! Could I please have some intellectual honesty in this discussion please. Thank you for your time!! Will answer Jweis later. Busy today however please simply read 1 Corinthians 5 were Paul calls the church to judge the church and throw out the unrepentant sinners to protect the other followers which is loving the repentant and doing so for the unrepentant as in hopes they will repent. Paul’s words not mine. Also Jesus himself telling us how to judge and confront a sinning believer all the way to taking them before the church and throwing them out in Matthew 18:15-17. Now if you choose to ignore Jesus that is your choice. However, I didn’t write those words in your Bible. Matthew did. He was with Jesus. So don’t falsely accuse me of elevating man’s word’s above God’s. Those are Jesus’ words Mike. Please keep your false accusations to yourself and live by your own teachings of not judging so you are not a hypocrite

      • You should study how bible’s are interpreted.. It is exhausting listening to Jesus’s teachings from the bible when people don’t even know how it was interpreted to begin with…

    • Pediatra,

      You state- “As for judging behaviors, that’s absolutely ridiculous. Behaviors accepted in one society may be unacceptable in others.”
      Ask yourself if you’re not being a bit naive here. Our society (indeed, all societies) and each and every one of us (including you) judge behaviors each and every day. Whether it’s lauding a sports performance, or a hero, or even patting someone on the back with a “that a boy” for having done something benevolent & good. (Positive judgments are also behavior judgments.) Or conversely, verbal condemnation of a criminal’s behavior, expressions of disappointment in a sports performance, or even reprimanding a child for not cleaning their room. All of these are judgments of behavior.
      Indeed, you’ve questioned (judged) behavior, either explicitly or implicitly, multiple times in this very post.-
      1) “First, I want to thank Linda for this blog as it honors, in my opinion, the memory of her son. He did not die in vain.”
      Here, you’re affirming & lauding Linda’s act (behavior) of creating this blog. (Positive judgment is still judgment.)
      2) “It was a prevalent belief at the times that AIDS was a exclusively gay disease. …Of course it was reported after. But now I wonder if that delay was due to people with preconceived anti gay opinions thinking it was God’s punishment to them.”
      Here you’re questioning (judging) the behavior & motives of the news media, or that society in general.
      3) Thematically, the gist of your last paragraph is to express your disapproval of what you perceive to be my thought, speech, attitude, and/or disposition. That’s expressing a judgment on me, my thought, my attitude, or my behavior.

      I wish you well.

      • Mike,
        You seem to be, in my opinion, a very smart person and a great debater. However you miss an important point: there is a difference in definition between the word opinion and the word judge. Anybody can have an opinion but only God, in my OPINION, can judge whether our behaviors are right or wrong. I am not God ( and neither are you) so Who am I (you) to judge?
        In my posting I expressed opinions but I am judging no one.
        God bless you!

        • Pediatra,
          Thank you for the compliment. I’m not sure I deserve it, but it’s appreciated none-the-less.
          You state- “However you miss an important point: there is a difference in definition between the word opinion and the word judge.”
          Very respectfully Pediatra, I understand the difference. But I also understand that in order to formulate an opinion, one must first make [a] mental judgment(s). The expressed opinion is simply a product of said judgment(s). Check the written definition of “opinion” in most any text, or online. In most all of those definitions, you’ll find the word “judgment” used at least once.

          You also state- “I am not God ( and neither are you) so Who am I (you) to judge?”
          I love movies. In some of the stories they tell are hidden real nuggets of wisdom. One of my favorites is “Rudy”, about a boy trying to make the Notre Dame football team. In one scene, he visits a Catholic priest. The priest tells him (paraphrased), “Rudy, in 40 years of study and service to the church, I’ve only come to understand 2 immutable facts- 1) There is a God, and 2) I’m not Him.
          Sincere blessings to you as well.

  30. Hello.. Everyone-10-24-15-1:53-AM
    I want to talk about Jesus loves people no matter who they are Jesus loves them you see Jesus loves people who use drugs people

    who hate who steals who are homosexual the ones that steal and the women who seals sex people who gosup people who control you

    fales relisgen murders god loves everyone and he don’t want you to go to hell he wants you togo to heaven where he is at so

    people out there if you are doing if you smoke cigarettes drinking alcohol drugs sex before marriage god loves you don’t think

    that god dos not loves you because he dos even if you drink or smock or do druges or hate the lord every one so if some bobly

    tells you god dos not like the homosexuals they are lying to you for
    Jesus died for everyone that recives him so people don’t lisen to any one else go right to the bible here are some bible VERSES

    on Jesus love for everyone you see so don’t lisen to other people and lose your sole because of some one else. As you no the god

    of this world hates god and he hates us because god loves us that much and don’t do what you see your friends do like smocking

    cigarettes or drinking alcohol or doing drugs or sex before marriage use your head peope there are those out there that don’t

    want you going to heaven so use your head think god his here for you waiting for man to come to him read those VERSES about gods

    love all those bad things we are doing at the end of your life then god will punish them that hurt you that did evil things to

    you don’t worry god will tack care of it give your life to Jesus before it’s to late people.

  31. Thank you so much for your courage and determination in publishing your story. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’ve lost an adult child as well. Since learning about your ministry earlier this evening, I’ve already shared this site with others in my area who are involved in advocacy for people within the church who’ve been looking for encouragement. So many people will continue to be blessed by your compassion. Peace and blessings to you and your family as you all continue your grief and healing journey.

  32. Thank you for sharing this story. It is one evangelic Christian parents everywhere need to read. The Bible condemns things like divorce and remarriage, and conservative Christian parents don’t worry about divorced and remarried folks salvation or struggle loving them. Hopefully, they will someday choose to extend that same understanding to God’s gay children, if they interpret Scripture as saying homosexuality is wrong.

    • Divorce is allowed for porneia. Means sex outside of marriage. So is not completely banned. Also trying to understand your reasoning. You are saying that we shouldn’t call people to greater holiness and less sin but use someone elses sin to allow for other sin? Is that really what Jesus taught. So because someone gets divorced there should be “gay marriage”?

  33. You and your family deserve to bear the guilt of giving your child a sad lives and end suffering . You deserve each drained tear and the daily pain of this loss . I hope that God has reserved him a happier eternity. My ex girlfriend went for it. Today I did’nt have she by my side, for the huge guilt selfishness of her family, just like yours.

    • But Priscilla, what you wrote is exactly why the Robertsons have taken on this blog/project. Reread their words; they too say they deserve to bear their guilt, they too say each drained tear pains their realization of their sin. They have taken on this project to warn other Christian parents of the perils of sinning against their gay children. Do note that the Robertsons neither rationalize their bad conduct against their son nor do they seek forgiveness from others.

      Certainly I nor anyone else can even offer them forgiveness; that is between them and their God. But look at what they are doing as their penance: each and every day they endure the memories of their sins in an effort to protect someone else’s gay kid. That is worthy of respect, not forgiveness, but respect.

      If we, the gay community, cannot allow formerly anti-gay folks to lift themselves up into accepting, loving and supporting roles towards us, we as a community cannot break out of the institutionalized homophobia that remains rampant here in the US and around the world. Just look at marriage equality — when the first court issued the first ruling supporting marriage equality, Hawaii’s Supreme Court 1993, public support was less than 20%, with over 75% strongly opposed. That gave us DOMA nationally and more than 30 states with their own prohibitions. It was only with the changing of hearts and minds of the majority of those 75% of opponents that brought about this amazing turnaround: people who were formerly anti-gay becoming better souls toward their fellow men/women.

      Its too bad that your ex-girlfriend’s family has not been moved by the Robertson’s story, to love their daughter as she is, support her in her goals of finding her happiness and her love. But the Robertsons are there for those who will take on the challenge of lifting themselves to the grace they themselves know is the grace Jesus showed toward all sinners and saints alike. Maybe send a link to this blog to your ex-girlfriend, perhaps, with luck and grace, she will see herself and family in the light of Ryan’s story. Probably not, but is it not worth the try?

      BTW, your words do indeed resonate with me deeply and dearly. I am now 55 and was in my mid 20s to 40 experiencing the devastating bigotry of supposedly “good” Christians who abandoned the HIV/AIDS sick and dying children, erasing their own child’s very existence. Your story is a reminder of how much work is still needed. As with racism, homophobia remains very strong; it requires an even stronger effort of goodness to beat that evil. That is why, in spite of their former great sin, I count the Robertsons as allies in the efforts against continued homophobia among Christians. I hope you see the light in that effort; best wishes to you.

  34. Thank you for your story, Linda. I grew up in Redmond, so feel a connection in that way, along with the gist of your and Ryan’s story. Reading through some of these comments, I see many made by well-meaning folks who seem to feel a heavy burden to set everyone right. In many cases, they have attacked you and what you are doing, yet you always answer in a gentle and inclusive way that reaches out to them. This is Christlike. I encourage you to continue to do what you are doing. It seems that many people view the Bible in the same way the Pharisees viewed the Sabbath; when they saw Jesus harvesting grain and accused him of violating Scripture, he answered by saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) If only we could all be ruled by love and not fear.

  35. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with your story. I found your blog after posting my own, anonymously, as a way to release the feelings I am experiencing as we deal with my daughter being gay and how that is affecting our Christian family. If you are interested, my blog is http://www.thescarletletterisg.com and I hope to connect with other parents who are in this experience. Thank you again – your story has touched me deeply.

  36. Linda thank you for your story of your precious son. I’m so very sorry for your loss of Ryan. I know you and your family loved Ryan with all your hearts and that he loved all of you. People who have not lived with a child going thru so much pain and indecision don’t understand the pain invilved. The indecision is not on our child’s part but ours at that time. They know who they are all they want or need is our acceptance of them and who they were born to be. In my case I think God put me in a prejudice family a family where I was never good enough for my stepfather and was never allowed to date and was picked up at school in my senior year and drove to a neighboring city by my mother and gotten married to my husband a truck driver. I’d never had a date and found myself married. I think all of that happened to me so I could understand and accept when my son told me he was gay. Oh I had questions but he was willing to answer them. I was depressed for about 2 weeks but not because my son was gay but because I knew I’d never have grandchildren because my daughter had passed at the age of 6 mo. 3 days. From SIDS. And my husband had passed while my son was in his first year of college he died on a run to Maryland we lived in Florida at that time and it was the hardest thing I’d ever had to say to my son was your dad has died. Anyway the 2 be thing I got depressed about was how the idiots if this world would persecute and berate and treat my son like he did something wrong. And I was afraid because of how people are he would be killed just for being gay. I thank you for your invitation to your group for parents of gay children and I would love to join it if you will let me know how to join. Or send me an invite and j will accept. Thank you again and I am do very sorry for your loss and also I am very proud of your courage in printing your story. It may just save lives. Both of the gay child and the parents of a fat child. God bless you. Sue Stone proud mother of a gay son.

    • Dear Sue Stone: Your journey down the “I have a gay son” road is just beginning. Your anxieties about your son’s welfare are concerns my father expressed to me now 35 years ago. Nonetheless, when he gave me a huge bear hug before heading to my apartment after coming out to my parents, he added “don’t you allow anyone to make you feel inferior, less than a man. That will make me sad.” Years after he passed, my aunt told me my dad had confided in her “since God gave me one gay son, I’m glad it was Michael (I have 4 brothers); none of his brothers are strong enough to be happy being gay.” You get to watch your son grow in a much different world than that of 1982 when HIV/AIDS began devastating the gay community. Yes there are still battles against homophobia and bigotry, but back then, marriage wasn’t even a spark of a consideration.

      Who says you wont be a grandmother? My boyfriend at the time I came out is a very happy father of three beautiful girls along with his now husband and joined in family with the girls mothers (in vitro fertilization, he the father and one mom had twins while the other mom the youngest). Their beautiful family included 8 happy grandparents (4 have passed) 2 moms happily together since college (30 years), and the two dad happily together 28 years. And like every dad, well in this case two protecting dads, they grill the calling boys of their daughters with laser focus and a sense of doom should harm come to one of the girls.

      So long as you can be fully supportive, let me suggest you ask your son if he has thought about life with a boyfriend, or a future with a husband, and whether he will have a family? If he answers no about children, its no different than what you already believe. If he answer he is unsure, well that sounds like a young man learning and growing in his life. And if he answer yes, let him know there are many ways to have a family, the best way, though, is the one making a happy family.

      Keep strong for you and your son. Best wishes to you both.

      PS: There is a national support group PFLAG (parents and friends of lesbians and gays) that was around even before I can out. You can find them on the web at http://www.pflag.org They have chapters all around the country. They helped my in-laws quite a bit, turned a very rocky almost forever broken relationship into a very loving and supportive one.

  37. Thank you for sharing your experience with us! What a journey and what a great example of God’s grace. I always had a fear that my son might be gay. He was brought up with two brothers who were the football stars, a father who was a football coach and expectations to be the tough athlete! He really never liked sports or girls and loved to decorate with me on holidays at which his brothers always said he was gay. His father died of Lou Gehrig’s disease and during that long illness I lost touch with all of my boys at a very crucial time in their lives. It was very traumatic for them. He went away to college and tried to like girls and partied. Then he got involved with the Navigators and was so close to the Lord. One day he called me and said mom I have to tell you something. I’m gay and I am not going to live this lifestyle ! It will not define me. I am a man of God! He said if I ever tell you that I am coming out and living that lifestyle tell me it’s wrong and that I am sinning. I said are you sure you want to go this. If you are gay you’re gay praying it away won’t change it. This will be very difficult. I will love you no matter what. Mom just do what I tell you ! Okay I said but knew in my heart he wouldn’t be able to do it. He had mentors that were helping him and praying for him. Little did I know they had told him if he ever lived the lifestyle he would no longer be allowed to be in the organization. Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. It destroyed my children. On the worst day of my chemo he called me and said I can’t lie anymore Im depressed and miserable. I said remember what you told me to say and he said I know but I can’t do it! I said Luke I love you and will support you. This is between you and God I am not your judge. I hung up and cried to the Lord for his protection! Wondered if I did something wrong. I just didn’t want him to be the victim anymore. He had been picked on his whole life. Now the and his whole group of friends turned on him. It was awful. He has totally turned from God. I was what I don’t understand is how he can find the balance of living His Godly life with the partying lifestyle. Which is really no different than his brothers but they never had the strong relationship with God like Luke. So my prayers now focus on him finding peace with who he is and finding that place back with God that he once had.

    • Praying with you, Claudia! I have no doubt that God understands exactly what Luke is going through, and that He is overwhelmed with love for him…just like you do, as his mom. Just think how much God must love him, if you feel the way you do! You are a wonderful mom, Claudia. Much love to you!

    • Wow, what a story! Your son’s internal battle is probably destroying him. You have been a wonderful mother supporting him the way you have. His story is very similar to my youngest son. Two older jock brothers and he was the most religious of the three. He came out first to his brother who gave him all the love and support he needed to come out to me. He is as happy as he can be right now with his partner and continues to be very spiritual and doing good deeds. That’s what matter. God bless you and I hope your son finds the peace and happiness he deserves.

    • Claudia — Here is a way for you to guide your son. This can work on a visit to him, or, on a visit by him to you. The Metropolitan Community Church, a church established by and for LGBT and supporters, has 222 congregations nationwide. I am not recommending switching/joining, I am recommending visiting them. Check their website and see whether a congregation is nearby you or your son. Then, on a visit, tell your son you want to go for services there, and you want him to join you. What he will find are scores of others who have lived very similar life stories; he will find communion with others who know and have lived his struggles. Tell your son however he moves forward, with MCC or another church, or without a church, your God and your relationship with Jesus includes him, and you share that love with him. It doesn’t really matter what direction your son then takes, but he will know there is love and support him without judgment of who he is in his soul. Best wishes for your son.

  38. Linda, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your story has helped me tremendously though, so thank you for sharing it. My 15 year old son has been hinting for the past couple of years that he was bisexual, and just yesterday confirmed it with me. I’m fairly liberal and also a Christian. I was completely accepting and loving of LGBTs, until my own child’s admission that he is bi made me doubt whether I was as open and accepting of gays as I thought I was. I don’t want my son to be gay or bisexual. And I don’t know why. I know God will love him no matter what, and I will too, but I still just don’t want this. I was googling for anything I could find that could help me or him, and I came across your story here. It has changed my perspective a lot and helped me be more at peace with who he is. I couldn’t love anyone more than I love him – he is my only child, now or for the future, and I can now think of a zillion other things that people turn out to be that are far scarier than him turning out to be gay or bi. I just don’t want him to live a life any more difficult socially than it already is. God bless you for sharing your heart and story – you may never know how many children’s and parents’ lives you have touched or even saved through your sharing this online. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please keep us and all like us in your prayers.

  39. Linda, I found the article you wrote for the Huffington Post while I was looking online to see if one of the ideas that has defined me as a person is shared by anyone else. I was so glad to see that it is. Since high school my dad would always say “Every person has a name, every person has a story.” It is fundamentally important for me in my understanding of my relationship with my Heavenly Father and my billions of brothers and sisters, His sons and daughters. I felt quite humbled as I read your story and learned of the way that you, as a mother reach out to those you love. I have never experienced such a tragic pain in my life. I have not lost anyone to drugs or addiction, I have not experienced the pains of stereotypes nor serious, faith-rocking doubts, but I absolutely know that the Lord Jesus Christ has experienced those pains for us. He has for you, for your husband, your son, your family, and all those you love. He suffered those pains on such a personal level we cannot even fathom. It is incredible for me to understand that His atonement extends to me individually. He knows me by name. He suffered for me in such a way that He could know me, could bare my sins and mistakes to order to allow me to choose Him, to repent, to make promises with Him to be made clean, and to prepare myself to live again with Him and my Father in Their Celestial Kingdom. I am absolutely joyful for the opportunity I have to choose Him and live with an eternal family. The most basic tenet of my faith is that I may choose to be the person God would have me become, may choose to live up to the potential, the divine potential that He has for me. There is a special scripture for me that is of a father speaking to his son “And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also. . . . Therefore, O my son, whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored unto him according to his deeds.” I know that Christ is my Redeemer and Savior and that I may be made clean in order to live with Him and my family eternally. I would love to share more of this knowledge, joy, and faith with you and your family. May you be well! Thank you for your article and your great faith!

  40. I’m a daughter of a quite well known businessman in my city.. well i live in Indonesia. And when i say indonesia, people will know how the culture is. 2 months ago i installed HER messenger in my phone. A messenger for LGBT and i know some girls there. I fell in love with a girl from thai. She doesnt have mother and father anymore yet she need to pay her late mother’s debt and her sister school fee. She is a teacher. Shortly, we chat everyday. We like each other and i plan many things with her.
    A month ago i break up with my boyfriend. Yeah i had boyfriend that time. Try to change myself for my parents. But i found it that i just hurt myself even more because i felt guilty to him. And i dont want to continue it anymore. Then, 2 weeks ago i came out to my parents. My mom cried. U should know how was the condition that time. I said to my parents to let me go. But my mom said if i go out from this house, means i’m ready to hear her death news tomorrow. And i really dont know what to do.

    They take my phone. Delete all my contact. And never let me out. Ask me to pray more. I cant even meet my friends. I can only go to work, and fyi i work at my house. I manage my family business. so i dont really need to go out. My family keep asking me to pray and change. Keep talking about how i already choose a wrong way of life. I’m tired. I miss my thai girl very much. But they said i dont need to get married if i cant change my sexual orientation. Its unfair really. But i never have any intention to try drugs or suicide. I just want to have my life again. Find a new job and a lover like other people do.

    Untill now they still treat me like that. They see me like i’m a source of trouble. They said they will love me still. But why i never feel it? Even my mom now become a vegan. I still havent change my mind to be myself. I already keep this for many years. I’m 26 now. I’m tired. But i really dont know what to do so they will accept me. I miss that thai girl. I need love too in my life as other people do. Can you help me? What should i do?

    • Praying for God to give you hope and wisdom today, Lest_club. While I don’t have any answers for you, I know, without a doubt, that God loves and accepts you without any conditions….He delights in you, my friend. I am asking Him to remind you of that!
      P.S. You sound like a loving, responsible, unselfish and loyal young woman – You obviously have such deep character, in spite of experiencing so much private turmoil. I sure do respect you for that.

      • Hi Linda,

        I lost your phone number, but what a wonderful journey I experienced in tracking you down. So moved by your messages of inclusion to all those who are struggling for understanding and accceptence. Now that’s customer service! ii’m going to miss you at seatac. please call if you want to share a pot of tea.

  41. Dear LInda Hi.
    I’ve recently came across to your story in youtube, the “Just because he breathes” talks you gave to “together in this”, “gcn” and the “ex minitry”.
    Thank you so much for the courage to be so vulnerable but at the same time so authentic. I’m sure that this will be helpful not just to parents but also to gay children to help navigate in their life in a more balanced way.
    I wish I could join you in some of the meetings you attend too and know you more.
    Your story reminds me so much of the book and the movie I came across couple years ago. That is the “Prayers for Bobby”. I ‘m sure you know that already.
    I think that the possibility of a book could spread your message of God’s love more widely and therefore impact the understanding of people in this issue.
    I would love to hear where you are at right now. I wish you all the best in your path. God’s blessings for you and your family.

  42. Thank you for sharing your experience..so tragic..being a parent is a never-ending learning process..so sorry for this heartache for you both and for dear Ryan..you have handled everything with sincere love for your child..I know you now feel you would have handled this matter differently..😔😔 May God hold you in the palm of His hand and lovingly in His heart – just as He is caring for Ryan now😇

  43. This is a very sad story and hit especially close to home for me. My own parents reacted much the same way after discovering that I was gay at 13. However, rather than overt religiosity, my father and step-mother reacted with anger and control. They were Christians but not as devout as Ryan’s parents. When they found me emailing another boy (he was 14, I was 13), they flew into a hysteric rage. They ended up calling the boy’s parents in Massachusetts and my father wrote him a personal email from Microsoft Outlook in bold red 72 font that read, “If you ever contact my son again, I will hunt you down like the animal you are.”

    From that moment on, life became very difficult. After confiding in a supposedly “close” friend, I was outed to the entire school. My best friend loudly and publicly disavowed me at a football game. I learned later that this was a deliberate PR stunt so that everyone would know that he wouldn’t suffer a “fag as a best friend.” This was especially painful. We literally spent every weekend at one another’s house and our parents had even taken us on a vacation to Disney World together when we were younger.

    I lost most of my friends (especially my male friends) while, at the same time, becoming the target for regular bullying from many of the other bous, especially the upperclassmen. There were even incidents with certain members of faculty, both of whom were male. Afterwards, each day, I got to come home to my parents where my every action and word was carefully policed for any signs of “gayness.”
    If I received any phone calls, they were screened. My television shows were monitered. I was banned from using the Internet for the remainder of my time in ky parents house. To make himself feel better, and to hopefully instill within me some “appreciation” for the female form, my father forced me to keep a Kathy Ireland swimsuit poster pinned to my wall.

    My father would make several cruel statements over the years that would etch themselves in my mind. During a Boy Scouts class for CPR, my father made a joke about leaving a gay man to die without administering first aid. Even my beloved grandmother who became my mother-figure (after my own biological mother left my father and me at 3 years of age ) would make comments. I remember an incident in Wal-Mart when I was still 13 where a creepy old man (he had to be in his 60s) followed me everywhere throughout the store until finally cornering me in a relatively secluded spot and then brandishing a gay pornographic VHS tape. When I finally found my grandmother and recounted the uncomfortable experience, she turned on me and angrily said, “Well, what did you do that might’ve given him the idea that you were open to that????”

    This continued on throughout my teenage years. At one point, my father even forced me into a relationship with a girl from Church who showed very obvious interest in dating me. When she tried to make out with me, I cannot describe how wrong it felt. On my 16th birthday, while driving to school, my father tossed a PlayBoy magazine onto my lap and said, “Happy birthday.” He watched me like a hawk as I realized that he expected me to puruse the magazine while I sat a foot from him. “Do you like what you see????”

    In my 18th year, I was working and a few months from graduating. It was then that I met my future life-partner. While my old life was ending, my new one was set to begin. After my graduation, my parents announced to me that NOTHING would change while I still lived with them. It was then and there that I decided to move out, despite being extremely nervous at the prospect. But I couldn’t endure another minute in that house. My parents discovered that I was moving before I wanted to tell them. When my mom asked when had I planned on informing them, I said, “When I’m packing my boxes.”

    One would hope that this would have a happy ending and, to an extent, it was. But I was not left unscathed. A teenagers formative years are crucial for the development of confidence, coping skills, and sexual maturity. Well, I was stunted in every category. I was too afraid of to move away to college for fear of being isolated in an unfriendly enviroment. My intimacy with my lifepartner was marked with copius amounts of shame. I had internalized the entirety of the negativity that I had received for my sexuality from family, friends, and peers. I essentially internalized my own homophobia and became a self-hating homosexual. At one point, one friend called me “the most homophobic gay person” that they had ever heard of.

    Drugs followed soon after. A very old and wise friend who survived severe drug addiction and succeeded in her rehabilitation would say to me, “The worst addicts aren’t the partiers or the thrill seekers, they’re the broken people who just want to numb themselves and not feel pain for a few minutes. Which is easier? Digging down into the foundation of our hearts and actually dealing with the rot and issues that are tearing us down or driving five miles down the road for a pill so you don’t have to think about for fifteen minutes?”

    At this moment, I’m still struggling with drug addiction. I don’t have a relationship with my parents and they know nothing of whats going on. My entire point of this diatribe is that while it’s good that Ryan’s parents finally learned from their mistakes, why is it always after the fact?

    I don’t mean to be cruel but it just seems that most of these parents never truly “wake up” until its too little, too late. Why do their children have to die before they can look at their beliefs and the relationships with their children objectively?

    Why is it always after the fact? After the damage has already been done?

  44. (PART 2)

    Dear Linda,

    I write this for you.

    It has been over a year since I last wrote you. I posted and couldn’t bring myself to return, due to fear and the battle for humility. I exposed myself in ways that I had never, prior to that day, done before; it felt backwards and the opposite of me. I am not one to share so personally (a self-defense mechanism). However, I shared with you, to best of my ability, at that time, what I knew to be true in my life and the history of my short years on this planet. I have come full circle, I believe, and I like where I have arrived (although I am carrying the weight of much unnecessary comments and hurtful actions by my family). It has been a rough, rough road, but I feel I have finally found a glimpse into truth–I don’t know if I will ever arrive at full, complete truth, or if we were ever intended to fully comprehend it; but, maybe, we were simply intended to trust the One who embodies it all.

    I do not know, but I trust the latter.

    Today, I came back; I often come back to your story, whether it be video or letter, when I need encouragement or some form of hope; your story brings me hope; your story gives me life; it gives me the breaths to take when the world around me minimizes the oxygen around me. You allow me to know that my experiences and struggles aren’t singular, that there is body out there, suffering in similar ways, and that mine aren’t just something I inflicted upon myself. Thank You.

    After what has felt like years of valleys and mountaintops, I came back to find the letter I once wrote, but first read many offensive and clearly dogmatic-oriented comments, and after reading in disbelief and voicing my opposition to the computer screen, I eventually found the letter and clearly understood that I have come to a place of complete understanding that the person who had once wrote that letter had not yet come to. A confused and scare child wrote that letter, a child who hoped for reconciliation and wondered if he would ever find it, but today, I write to tell you, he has. He has found his way, mostly, even though he still has many miles to go. But I made it, greatly in part, due to you and your story, and your courage. Yes your courage. Your courage to step out into the world and its light, accompanied with the great possibility of bearing its weight of judgement and persecution–I hate that word: persecution; we live in a world where anybody can make themselves victims when in reality they are the ones wrongly perpetuating and victimizing the very definition of that word; all we have to do is blow our whistles and negate the very issues at hand by somehow making ourselves the victims and never taking responsibility for our own inconsistencies (“merry-go-round”). But, however, I write to return the blessing you once unknowingly bestowed upon me, and hope to somehow elegantly and rightly capsulize my journey into a short and concise letter that would somehow bless and honor you.

    I last left you with comments of my family. And that’s what the remaining story will surround.

    After my relationship ended, my world grew dark and I found myself in a place unlivable, and after several of months of having this darkness encompass the world around me, I drove home (after calling into work and informing my boss I would not be returning from break) and displayed all my brokenness to my parents. We talked. I cried. I cried. I listened and cried some more, confessing my confusion and questions–“Why me…It doesn’t make sense…It doesn’t feel unnatural!” Somewhere within the sacredness of our conversation, I lovingly and tenderly conceded to the possibility and notion that I may have been wrong and said the salvation’s prayer for the ‘millionth time’.

    The following morning I woke with the revelation that I had to make a decision on whether-or-not my philosophy and past decisions were God-acceptable, and after softly and quietly wrestling with my decision for probably a week, I came to the conclusion, as I had done many of time prior, that I had to recount my so called “sexuality.” And I did, personally, within the close circle of family members who knew.

    What followed was a journey full of trial and tribulation (not temptation), but softened by a change in me that I had never known prior. My heart opened and love came out of me in ways that had never existed before. Even during this time, I wrestled with doubts of my salvation, but knew, through the honor of my experience, that God had indeed proved himself to me and I had nothing to fear.

    To be completely honest, even though this may be used against me, I never had a desire to be with guys during the course of two years; instead, I grew and healed from so many hurts and scars I had acquired over the course of my life. And what I may have never explained before now: my childhood was extremely lonely and full of so much disappointment (the factors are many).

    As a child, the middle child, in a family of eleven siblings, with little to hardly any deep relationships with my siblings and/or parents, I learned to navigate the waters and world alone, experiencing so many things solely and independently from anyone in my family. Coming home and sharing my experience of school was a nonexistent event, maybe, except for one day that I can recall. Sure my mom came to certain events and my parents sacrificed in unmeasurable ways, but the bond was nonexistent. No one asked me and I told no one. I learned how to be alone; I learned to keep to myself–I tell you this to better understand the following.

    One of the greatest blessings after moving back home, after recounting my sexuality (not everyone knew of my sexuality), was developing relationships and experiences with my siblings and parents that I had never had before or lost along the way. I finally had the relationships I had so secretly desired. I no longer had to hide inside my box, nor did I have to hide myself away from those I loved. I didn’t have to pretend any longer. I believe that was my salvation, being able to expose myself, truly and inconsequentially, and not have to hide. I was no longer ashamed and could openly reveal myself to those whom I would have never, prior to that time. And the bitterness I held in my heart melted away.

    But that experience came to a halt.

    About a year ago, about the time I first wrote, I came to a fork in my road. My relationships had been healed and restored, mostly, and no desire to return back to my past. But, one day, I came home, and, like a light switch being flipped on, in the sacredness of my own personal and tangible moment, I felt my heart completely change toward the gay community and transgender persons. I stood all alone, just me and God, and knew they deserved the same happiness and rights as anyone else.

    It’s not an experience that can be explained but rather experienced.

    I know people will take my experience, formulate their own diagnosis, and use my story to contrite their fundamental stances that disapprove my following story. But, I will press on.

    Along my journey, I started to question the validity of my previous theologies, and my perceptions started to change, and change for the better. Rereading scripture, I found them to be inclusive rather than exclusive, like I had been raised to believe. Pure love poured from those pages in ways that had never been done before, and when I write ‘pure love’, I mean Gods’ soft and tender voice spoke to me in ways that I would have thought were impossible as a child.

    Eventually, my heart completely opened to the possibility of sexuality being a minute thing, and that God, like the many varieties He has already created, created homosexuals to be just a small spectrum on the vastness of humanity, and an example of His workmanship.

    Like a child, innocently looking for truth, I searched and tried the scriptures and challenged my own heart. And I arrived at a place of better understanding.

    All my life I lived in fear and honored traditions for traditions’ sake. I accepted the truths that were given to me and never fully challenged their validity. I loved those who presented their gospels to me and accepted their gospels because I loved them. Looking back, it honestly felt like the blind, me, blindly following the blind–fear can keep anyone from opening their eyes and never opening their hearts.

    I was one of them.

    Now, after much time alone, consideration, and studying, I can no longer hold to the self-proclaiming truths as self-evident. Because, I have learned, and more so in this very moment, that blindly accepting anything without first opening your heart to humility and courage is the same as blindly following the blind–I no longer can.

    Now at the age of twenty-six, I no longer hide that part of myself; I am a gay man and proudly so, but still have walls that need to fall. No one, that is not LGBTQ, knows what its like to live in this world as a gay man. No one knows the severity of one’s story that has not lived it. The saddest and most frustrating part is that, even though I explain my experiences to others, they will never be able to truly understand the pain and just how much I have had to survive. The sad reality though: I have suffered from the onslaught of years of conditioned dogma(s) that serves no one but those in whom it honors. My family has hurled their judgmental arrows and tried to smother them in love, but some were outright hateful. My brother basically disowned me, asking me to say goodbye to my young nieces and nephew and never addressing me when I am around; rather, they continue about their activities, their kids stare and never say a word, and sometimes it seems they rush to their car and leave the moment I arrive home; I was so close to those kids. My parents have tried to love me, but their words/actions weren’t always loving; honestly, at times, I feel they would rather have a dead son than a gay one, and, at times, that has been a tempting thought. And although some relationships have suffered, not all of them have. I actually have gained a relationship with my oldest brother that I had never had before; he has been so loving and kind and somewhat understanding. I finally opened up to my oldest sister who has tried to open her heart to the possibilities. Another blessing. But, after all the blessings, the pains are greater, and I find myself wanting to distance myself from everyone. I want to crawl back into my box and close off from the world. But I know the necessities of not doing that. I am trying, fighting the fight, struggling, and conquering; but, at times, I feel I am going to fall apart and it haunts me knowing what has transgressed. But, I believe in a greater purpose and do believe that one day everything will make sense. I have hope and am determined to not let it go. And part of that is due to people like you Linda.

    So, Thank You, Robertsons and Linda, for being so vulnerable and courageous. And for letting your light shine.


    • Wow, Jesse! What a journey you have been on! I am so very sorry your family isn’t able to celebrate the deep peace that God has given you – I can’t imagine the pain of that. But I am rejoicing in how God has spoken to you…! And Jesse, YOU are the brave one! SO much love to you, my friend!

  45. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has helped me think differently as a mother of a gay son. I love him so much, and your story has given me strength to deal with this the way God wants me too. May your beautiful son rest in peace! May God bless you!

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