Gay

How to Remove Rainbow Banner from WordPress Reader (Temporarily)

In her post titled Listen Up WordPress, InsanityBytes explained her frustration over the rainbow banner that WordPress put at the top of the Reader – signifying marriage equality and the Supreme Court’s decision today – and her inability to remove said banner. If you still see the rainbow banner (I have no idea how long they’ll keep it up) and want to temporarily remove it, there is a way. It’s as simple as unchecking a box, but finding the right box will require a bit of exploration into the inner workings of browser code (which might be fun for you). The downside is that the rainbow will show up again if you refresh the page, but that shouldn’t be a problem since the Reader loads new posts without reloading the whole page. If you need a more permanent solution, go here.

How to make the rainbow banner image disappear from the top of the WordPress Reader

Step 1 – Make sure your on a page with the rainbow in a desktop browser…RemoveRainbow1

Step 2 – Pull up the browser’s developer tools somehow (you can Google how to do this for your browser). In most it’s in the menu at the top or even in the right-click menu. Here’s how I get to it in Safari. Right-click and then “Inspect Element”.

RemoveRainbow2

You should be able to find a page of elements like this. Congratulations, you’re looking at the HTML you’re browser uses to render the website. This is called the DOM (Document Object Model). Select the DOM element you see highlighted here called “header”. It’s nested under html and body.

Find it? Great! Notice what happens when you click it? Look at the style rules (click around to open them if they aren’t visible). They change depending on which DOM element you select. The one for “header” has a CSS style rule for “.masterbar” that looks like a rainbow of colors. That’s the culprit and you can see it at the bottom right of this image. You’re almost done…RemoveRainbow3

Step 3 – Uncheck that box under the “.masterbar” style rules (see screenshot). That’s it! Check your other window where the WordPress Reader is…RemoveRainbow4

You should now see this! No rainbow. 🙂RemoveRainbow5

 

Personally, I like the rainbow and join with WordPress in celebrating marriage equality. However, they should have provided a way to permanently remove it. If you forget and refresh the page, you can just do these three steps again to make the rainbow disappear from your Reader again.

Feel free to play around in the developer area of your browser, explore and learn new things. It doesn’t affect anything permanently and any changes you make will be gone when you refresh. It’s just affected your local browser window. I hope this helped.

Gentleness and respect,
–Russell

Supreme Court Just Validated Gay Marriage. Now What? 5 Gay Marriage Concerns (and Your Thoughts…)

Love

Today the Supreme Court of the United States ordered that state bans outlawing gay marriage are unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote these words that will echo through the ages…

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.

I am overjoyed to hear this, and deeply saddened that I’m presently unable to bring myself to risk family torment by stating my joy on Facebook. I feel like a coward and can’t wait to come out of my own southern-baptist conservative closet. Am I alone in here? I will celebrate here, on this private blog, with those of you who share that view and anyone else willing to listen.

Concern

I write this from a church where my two daughters go to daycare. I’m working from here today because I jogged here with our double jogging stroller and didn’t want to spend the work-time making several trips between home and here today. Our 5-year-old just finished the celebration at the end of Vacation Bible School where they celebrated not turning to the left or the right, but following God down the narrow path by following the Bible and trusting His word. I was struck, as I usually am, by the peer-pressure demonstrated when the crowd of children erupted in cheers for those slightly older than my daughter who had accepted Jesus during the week. That kind of pressure from others is no way to evaluate truth. I was also uncomfortable with how this week’s theme to “obey the Bible” seemed to stand in stark relief (by most biblical interpretations) against the court’s ruling today. There are certainly Bible-believing Christians who allow for gay marriage within their view of scripture (see Pascal’s previous post and my comment there), but that view is presently more uncommon in the micro-culture where we live. Unfortunately, most of the opposition for same-sex marriage seems to be religiously based. I don’t want that for my precious, sweet daughters. It’s probably just my INTP personality thinking too far ahead, but these tensions are uncomfortable for me and seem unnecessary.

Arguments

I’ve heard many arguments for why marriage equality is bad (moral slippery-slope, etc.). What I haven’t yet heard is any significant argument against marriage equality that both a) stands up to scientific scrutiny and b) is not ultimately based on biblical interpretations (and accompanying biases that tend to run more deep because their based on perceived divine authority) and/or the genetic fallacy (and other of the less-known fallacies). That certainly does not mean that such legitimate reasons do not exist. I am ignorant of many things and this may just be one more. That’s why I hope we can all benefit from your thoughts.

In my view, the road ahead may be challenging as we work out how, when, where and the degree to which state or federal laws should impact personal liberties, but that’s a constant struggle in a free nation. Equality under the law is how things should be. We should start there and then figure out the implementation specifics. I agree with Pascal that perhaps churches should volunteer to give up their tax exemption status in order to become more politically active about this and other issues.

Top 5 reasons to object to gay marriage – and an atheist’s rebuttal

I saw the following older video (2009) from The Atheist Experience about a year ago. I remember that in the video Jeff addresses the top 5 arguments (from a certain website at that time) against gay marriage. He talks through those issues from the perspective of an atheist. I don’t remember the video well enough to know if I agree with every point, but seeing these clips may help some of us understand one another better. First, a warning. I’ve seen many videos from The Atheist Experience over the years. While I agree with the vast majority of what I’ve heard from them, I very often do not agree with the way they say it – it is quite often lacking in gentleness and respect. Still, if you can get past the anger and condescension that you occasionally find there, the content is often incisive. Here are the arguments people voted for as the primary reason that they oppose gay marriage – Jeff will be going through them in this reverse order.

5. It’s bad for the kids or it will cause problems for the family.

4. The purpose of marriage is to make children.

3. Homosexuality is unnatural and/or abnormal.

2. Marriage is defined as “one man and one woman.”

1. Watch the videos to find out. Hint, it starts with an “s”…

What is your take on these? I encourage you to comment on any that jump out at you. My goal, as always, is mutual understanding and compassion in the midst of difficult and polarizing topics. I know I’m not unbiased and I hold some false beliefs. The more I hear from you, the better chance I have of recognizing my own blind spots. In addition to the objections above (and Jeff’s rebuttals), here are more questions you might discuss to help us all understand…

Questions

If you’re for gay marriage, why? What do you wish opponents of gay marriage would understand? Are you for LGBT protection under anti-discrimination laws?

If you’re against gay marriage, why? What do you wish your proponents of gay marriage would understand? Did the video help clarify anything? Did it make things worse? Will you fight marriage equality now after the supreme court ruling? How? Are you for LGBT protection under anti-discrimination laws? Do you think you’ll ever be able to celebrate a gay wedding and accept a same-sex married couple to the same degree that you accept their peers in a heterosexual marriage?

Sign-off

This is a historic moment in time. I’m very glad you’re here. Thank you for taking the time to read and contribute your unique point of view for the improvement of our shared understanding and a better, more compassionate and moral future – whatever that may look like. You have my sincere gratitude.

To all same-sex attracted people who may read this, I hope you feel the warmth I’m sharing with you right now. To all those who have same-sex attracted friends or family members, please spend time with them, give them a hug, and pass on the love. Today, I openly celebrate them from my corner closet – and I’m straining against the door.

Gentleness and respect,
–Russell

P.S.

J, someday the perceived hurt we will cause our families (admittedly, primarily yours) will be outweighed by the real need from hurting people who are desperate for our support. All it may take is for one of them to stumble to the ground in front of the crack in your closet door. Then I won’t have to strain anymore because you’ll break through to them before I can blink. You always do. I sincerely hope that if that time comes, you can bring Jesus with you. I love you. 🙂

Just Listen

Dear Russell and Friends,

I’ve been thinking for the past week.  In truth, longer than that.  I explained in my last post why I am in favor of civil gay marriage in American society.  Two of my atheist friends called me to the carpet on the relevance of my support.  Why did my opinion matter?  I would refer them to today’s New York Times opinion page.  In civil society, we argue in public, support each other in public, for the public good.  But then my friends made it personal.  Or at least that is the way it seemed to me.

Thank you.

I needed this to be personal.  I needed to consider my sons and then have the same view of other people’s sons and daughters.  Then I needed to watch this in its entirety.

And so today I did.  I didn’t cry through all of it like J did.  I ran for 10 miles and prayed.  Several things affected me deeply and personally.

  • Jake was articulate, intelligent, innocent and precious – – I will defend him like I would my sons
  • I’ve always grieved the southern church’s history of shame in the treatment of minorities – – is this such a time?  Are the white hooded cowards sitting on the pew next to me?
  • There are commenters on the youtube trailer that hate scripture and people of faith.  I get that.  Jake and his parents do not.  Bishop Gene Robinson does not.  They have studied like this man and have come to different interpretations.
  • Bishop Desmond Tutu moved me – – I have admired him and Nelson Mandela for many years.
  • To be honest, I did not know about these interpretations until one week ago.
  • To my shame, I said that I would not read a book to explain it.  Shame.  I read books on so many less important things.
  • To J’s college best friend – – I’m sorry and I’m willing to change.

Before I met Russell and his bride J I was praying for wisdom.  In reply I would often hear a quiet whisper in my mind, “just listen.”  I do love Jesus, love scripture, and love gay people.  I’m willing to seek the reconciliation of those things.  I will not tolerate bigotry and I will vote for equality before the law.  That likely means something worse than loving gay people in my circles – – it likely means voting for a Democrat.  Would I attend the wedding of a gay friend in a church that interpreted scripture to bless it?  I would.  I know that I’m going to be wrong on many things when all things become clear or nothing after my death (depending on your viewpoint).  If I am going to err here, then let it be on the side of mercy.

For my believing friends, the exegesis of Genesis and Leviticus made more sense to me than that of Romans 1.  But I’m willing to learn.  To be clear, whether you care about my opinion or not:  I do believe most gay people are born that way and are not mistakes.  I will never hate them.  I will defend these creations of a loving God with words, politics, and if necessary in cases of hateful violence – – my life.

For my atheist friends – – you can change a mind if one respects you and is willing to listen, but it is rarely in an instant.  Be patient.  That, after all, is my approach to you.

Pascal – – 1:16

An Internally Consistent Christian View on Gay Marriage?

Old Cobblestone Road

Dear Russell & Friends,

The final session of the The Table occurred two nights ago.  To refresh, this a local church holding small Wednesday follow-up meetings on the Sunday sermon.  The sessions will continue, but my attendance as a guest was prompted by this particular sermon series topic – – hard questions asked of Christians.  The room was full this Wednesday night.  The topic was a Biblical view on homosexuality.  The hour flew by.  Opinions were respectfully expressed, but clearly deeply held.  Can I express an internally consistent view on gay marriage?  That was honestly one of the reasons that I began teaching Romans.  So I’ll try.  My style is usually narrative, but I’m going to present a numbered list to facilitate discussion.  I realize that I could be wrong and I’m open to the audit of our readers.  I’ll write from the perspective of a 43 year old white American lower upper class man.

  1. I believe that scientific research and my conversations with a dozen gay colleagues over a dozen years supports that sexual orientation is primarily inherited – – nature outweighing nurture in a majority of people.  That said, I don’t believe that being gay is a choice for most people.
  2. The best number that I can find is approximately 10% of people on earth are represented in the LGBT spectrum.
  3. As a Christ follower, I accept the authority of scripture and believe that interpretation requires study and an understanding of the culture and capabilities in which the inspired words were written and read.
  4. The context of Paul’s letter to the Romans is well described in Will Durant’s Caesar and Christ.  Homosexuality as understood today was common in the culture of Rome and Greece before it.  I don’t know if the number was similar to ~10%.
  5. As an American I acknowledge civil authority and the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  There is a reason that this is the first sentence in the First Amendment of the ten known as the Bill of Rights.
  6. I could dwell on number 5 for a while.  I’m distressed with a growing lack of civic knowledge in my society.  I think that studying and understanding the Constitution are appropriate responsibilities of an engaged electorate.
  7. That said – – the US Supreme Court makes decisions for all citizens of the United States.
  8. Most citizens of the United States do not follow Christ.
  9. I’m not convinced that 3 of 4 people in our Christian churches follow Christ.
  10. I accept the civic authority of the US Constitution as a citizen of the US and accept the authority of scripture as a follower of Christ.

Thank you for your patience so far.  I hope that for the views I hold and represent, I have represented an internally consistent rationale.  What do I do with this foundation?  Here are my views:

  1. I approve of the US Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage for American citizens inclined to do so – – marriage has no benefit with taxation, but rather a penalty.  Marriage has enormous implications in health care and in the care of children and the elderly.  In my practice I have seen gay couples care for each other and for aging parents with integrity.
  2. I respect the churches of all faiths who do not accept this as consistent with the moral teachings of their sacred texts.
  3. For that reason, I would never compel a pastor or church to conduct the marriage of a gay couple before God against conscience.
  4. There are streams of thought in Christianity and other faiths where these marriages are approved and conducted.  This is where our family debates as a body of Christ occur.  This is where some of the discussion with other believers landed Wednesday night in a smaller coffee club after the main meeting.
  5. If Christian churches in the United States are faced with an imperative to act against conscience by the federal government, then a voluntary first step seems obvious:  relinquish the tax exempt status of houses of worship.  If there is no federal subsidy to churches, then we can stand on Biblical principles and the Constitution with equanimity.

I expressed some of these views on Wednesday night and felt that I had talked too much.  I much prefer writing to friends.  Are my views internally consistent?

 

Pascal:  1:16

photo credit:  Doris Antony via Wikicommons, CC-BY-SA-2.5

The Breakfast Table

rustic table

Dear Russell and Friends,

I’m sitting at the same table we leaned on last night.  The table above is just a depiction, but evokes the memory and stirs my hope just the same.  At the table we were seven with a little Pascal darting in and out on spare occasions.  It was a better table than the taco booth.  It was hard dark wood and smithed cold metal with warm lines of approach.  It was not plastic, cramped, or formica.  Our nucleus was complete with our brides J and Mrs. Pascal there.  The valences of friends were three and strong.  Yes – – I just spent 15 minutes with a fantastic high school chemistry powerpoint deck on the periodic table.  Thank you anonymous chemistry teacher and internet Alexandria.  By the way – – you’re a noble gas and I’m an alkali metal, best kept dry.

In person we gained what is so difficult in writing.  We had synchrony.  What writing wins in posterity it loses in the ability to speed, slow, watch, listen, and sub-cognitively interpret what is said and heard, implied and felt.  Smile, posture, tone of voice and stuttering silence were all apparent to me.  I felt at times like an extracorporeal observer.  I suppose for all except myself, I was.  This from a man who claims to love writing in fact to see the world through a writer’s lens.  In person was better.  But here I am at that table.  The sun rose quickly, the grass is greening and birds sing the elegy of night’s retreat.

I asked our readers, some of whom are becoming friends, where to go with this blog after I finished telling the first part of my story.  J was the strongest voice asking for a back and forth about your 42 reasons.  She wants to be convinced and I honestly think you do too.  I just can’t do it.  We will live and die with different ways of seeing the world, different criteria for being convinced, different emphases on the subjective and objective vicissitudes of life.  Madalyn expressed my views well.  Can we respect each other and try to understand each other?  Can we find room in the middle for a rustic table?  That is more where my heart, mind, and soul lie.  I invited a different couple to Détente last night.  They are the age of my older brother, mature, kind, generous, engaged, faithful to work and each other.  She is an agnostic who likes Karen Armstrong’s last book.  He an atheist who likes her first.  They are an amazing couple who love each other and care deeply about other people.  I wanted you and J to see a healthy couple who do not follow Christ but do model his care for humanity.  They care about the homosexual community, racially discounted, urban poor, and those without access to strong education.  I liked this couple when I met them – – just like I liked you and J.

This isn’t only your journey.  As I explained last night, I was raised with inherent biases against gay people, or worse – – Democrats.  These biases are hard to deconstruct.  I was also raised with an abiding love for Christ and the Bible.  The latter has inspired me to leave the former biases.  Just as you and I have come to very different conclusions about the usefulness of scripture, I feel as if my conclusions about people and politics are isolating in the evangelical strands of Christianity that I know best.

The only thing that really bothers me about the journey you and J are on?  You’re leading a double life, expending enormous energy by maintaining a lie.  You’re having to remember who knows what when.  Just tell the truth to real people in person.  “We want to believe, but we don’t right now.”  I can promise one thing and hold myself accountable to any who read here.  You can leave Christ and not leave me.  I will not isolate my circle to an echo chamber reinforcing my own views.  My circle includes you, at the rustic table, in person and here.

This post may feel like a pivot.  Probably because it is a pivot.  I am a strong believer in failure as a teacher and I felt as if I failed you and myself over the past two weeks.  Your posts were not the problem.  I’m glad that you’ve outlined a cogent reason for your non-belief that can allow others to be more authentic.  I will indeed reply to several points that you raised about the Bible.  How can I reconcile the concept that one error causes the whole house of cards to collapse?  Do I think God is bad?  And that’s about where I’ll stop.  Books have been written for and against, and that’s not the book I intend to write.  What about Victoria’s comment post on Miracles?  That deeply affected me and deserves a reply.  What would I like to see from you?  More positive assertions.  You are a positive and gentle person who loves his wife and daughters.  Could you please tell our friends about your curiosity alarm?

Pascal,

–1:16

 

photocredit:  ogstore.com

Romans Recap: Chapters 1-2

How long will it take to get through 16 chaptes of Romans?  It took almost 8 months for the first 1/8th.  Just saying…  I’ll pause each two chapters along the way for an index with links and a few sentence summary of the section.  Then we’ll go on with Romans 3 and other domains of knowing truth and knowing each other.

Introduction – – as much as possible, a plain language, apply to today approach to what Christian believers call the greatest letter and skeptics call an example of fine ancient literature in high Greek.

Romans 1:1-7 – – Paul introduces himself as a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ.  Did Paul exist?  Did Jesus exist?  These are relevant questions of modern skepticism.  The text says yes – – open to all assertions of circularity.  We’ll have to look for external corroboration in scripture and in cognitive resonance.  All three persons of the trinity are introduced, a theme to which we’ll return.  The key word of Romans, in my opinion the key word of life, is penned:  grace.

Romans 1:8-15 – – Gratitude for believers and a constant desire for mutual encouragement.  A fellowship of believers can be, should be, a beautiful thing.  Why then do we fail?  We are selfish and fallen.  Paul is obliged to share the good news of grace to as many as will listen.  Burdened?  No.  Obliged.  There is a difference.

Romans 1:16-17 – – Not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is the core of who I am.  I believe that faith in Jesus is reasonable.  I’m not angry with atheists, agnostics, free thinkers or skeptics.  Neither am I ashamed of what I believe.  It is fair to ask me to explain it.

Romans 1:18-20 – –   Why is God angry?  The very concept of an angry God may be a reason to disbelieve.  However, is it consistent?  We are supposedly made in God’s image.  Do we get angry?  What can be known about God through nature?  Will biology and physics prove or disprove God?  Or – – can we know God’s invisible attributes:  eternal power and divine nature, through the limits of the very small and the very large?

Romans 1:21-23 – – Who are they?  The they that are without excuse.  Who are they?  Any definition of they that excludes us is fatally flawed.  Start here and stay here.  I am they, so I will not despise or marginalize another.

Romans 1:24-27 – – I wrote an introduction to this passage here.  I was (and am) concerned that believers have reduced Romans 1 to an injunction against the practice of homosexuality.  Read slowly and with compassion.  Hard questions came from this passage.  Please ask these questions.  Please listen to others for their answers.

Romans 1:28-32 – – Who are they?  We are they.  Any sin required all of Christ’s blood.  That is the offense of the cross.  That is what I want to yell from the pews in church this morning.  We are they.  Stop marginalizing.  No one needed a savior more than me.  You will never understand grace if you think wrath is for another.

Romans 2 introduction:  Romans 2 stands against Christian hypocrisy.  How many people have barriers to belief because I fail to follow Christ authentically?  More than a few.

Romans 2:1-3 – – The fallen heart in Romans 1 will be judged.  Not by me – – I’m just as corrupt.

Romans 2:4-5 – – How were we turned from God’s wrath?  By his kindness.  How then could we withhold his kindness from another?

Romans 2:6-11 – – Is it just for disobedient self-seekers like me to receive wrath and fury? Yes it is just. Is it just for me to receive trouble and distress for the evil I do? Yes it is just. Do I want God to be just? I do. I agree with the skeptics that a God of injustice clashes with the moral sense that I claim he put within me. Yes – – I want God to be just. Can I afford that justice? No. No I can’t.

Romans 2:12-16 – – What does this paragraph in Romans 2 teach me?  God will judge us by the knowledge that he gives us.  What about hell?  If you are not perplexed and disturbed by hell with the sense of justice that God authored in your soul – – you should be.

Romans 2:17-24 – – The only problem that I have with the comprehensive lists that skeptics have compiled of wrongs done by Christ-followers is this – – I think that the Christ-followers should have written the lists.

Romans 2:25-29 – – Who are the Jews, both then and now?  A small tribe in a vast land that just hasn’t gone away.  Does God break his promises when we do?  Is there a reasonable basis for Christian anti-semitism or should it be confronted as false?

Selah and shalom my friends.  I’m going to address Rafols as to why truth is truth.  Its time to expound on Plato, and the arrow of time, and the weight of history.  I will return, will always return, to scripture.  It is meaningful to me because it provides the lens through which I view the world.  But I am almost insatiably curious about life and the world and I hope our journey together will last many years.  Thank you so much for joining.

Blessings–

Pascal

–1:16

 

 

Romans 2: 1-3

Romans 2: 1-3 (ESV)

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?

The list in Romans 1:28-32 doesn’t sound like me at first.  Am I evil, covetous, and malicious?  Am I a gossipful, slandering, God-hater?  Am I:  foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless?  Apparently so.  And in my heart, I know it is true.

Now do you see my irritation toward my own people (those I call brothers and sisters) who believe that Romans 1 is primarily about the gay lifestyle?  Do you see my frustration with myself when I realize that I’m criticizing another and not applying the same standard to me?

Matthew, one of the disciples, recorded Jesus as saying much the same thing in one of my favorite passages in his gospel – – the sermon on the mount:

Matthew 7: 1-5 (ESV)

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, andwith the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

There are two very important distinctions here that we should not lose.

1)  The fallen heart in Romans 1 will be judged

2)  Not by me – – I’m just as corrupt

It hurts to see that missing in the church today – – the balance between acknowledging that God has the right to set the standards we don’t meet, and the abdication of our right to judge.  It was never ours at all.

What questions does this raise?  Myriad.  I read this a few months ago.  In the blogging Kevin Bacon game I found a slightly sardonic, very funny feminist birder, who is now pregnant.  She has a section on her homepage titled Christians Read This.  I’ve always been a sucker for short imperative sentences, so I did.

I’ve been thinking about point number 3 every since.  Sin.  Is that my nomenclature for Romans 1?  Is that what I’m saying I was born to?  Is that what Romans 2 says I’m not qualified to judge?  Good questions.

Pascal

–1:16

And

And is a powerful word.  I’ve been wrestling with that concept for years.  I’m more inclined to think or, perhaps even but.  Yet and keeps coming up.  It last surfaced as Russell and I discussed our concepts of mystery.

I re-posted an excellent discussion of nature and nurture here and promised to return with comments once I had thought about it.  In the interim, a new reader shared this article with me about the Darwinian Paradox of homosexuality.  I’m thankful to Patrick Clarkin, who posted on developmental plasticity and to JS who expanded my vocabulary with the word fecundity.

What do these posts have in common?

Genes are important and environment is important.  The opposing photographs of Christian Bale illustrate this strikingly.  Genotype is the hardwiring of your DNA – – set at conception.  It is true that the blueprint can be copied (transcribed) in different ways by epigenetic (above the genome) mechanisms, but much more is at play.  Immigrants from healthier nations where most people are thin achieve American obesity within a generation – – far too short a time frame for evolution.  So – – the survivors of the human race have been selected for a very long time.  In conditions of scarcity, taking on excess calories and storing them as fat allowed you to live until the next meal.  In conditions of cheap food of poor nutritive value, that adaptation in the genes leads to diabetes.  Same genes, different conditions – – developmental plasticity.

What of the Darwinian Paradox that JS pointed me too?  It helps to answer a question that isn’t obvious.  If homosexuality is largely genetic (I maintain that it is), then why is it preserved in the gene pool?  The reason for my question was this – – same sex pairings do not produce offspring, so how is the trait passed on and maintained?  The article reveals that the trait may be related to increased fertility in maternal relatives.  That would work scientifically.  Homosexuality is not directly advantageos vis a vis natural selection.  Reproducing children certainly is.  The analogy I would draw is this – – sickle cell trait is protective against a common type of malaria.  Sickle cell disease is not desirable and has no selective advantage.  The trait (one copy of the altered gene) is maintained in the population because it allows more children to survive malaria and reach reproductive age.  In this analogy, increased fecundity (fertility) in the maternal relatives of gay men is the driving evolutionary reason (cause).  Homosexuality then is the effect.

Is it that simple?  Likely not.  Much has been written about other associations (not sure if causality has been proven) with homosexuality.  So the and conjunction comes back again.  Due to genetic and environmental reasons 5-10% of people identify as LGBT and often have the first inklings of this identity in childhood.

And.  God made us and we are not mistakes.  Yet we are fallen and God has high expectations.  I’m not talking about gay people.  I’m talking about all people.  How are we fallen?  In myriad ways, but primarily because we worship created things rather than the creator.  That is the core of Romans 1 and the chief sin of man.  I’ve taken my fellow Christians to task for making Romans 1 only about homosexualty.  It is so much broader and worse than that.  It is about being human and the desperation that comes from being able to realize you fall short.  Romans 1 is not about gay people.  It is about people.

If one is born gay, then how can scripture prevent that person from expressing himself or herself naturally?  Isn’t that cruel?  That is a fair question.  Can Christ call someone away from their very nature and ask them to deny a part of themselves to meet his inexplicable expectations?  It depends on who he is.  How could a good and loving God do this?  It depends not on how you define good or loving, but how you define God.  Here is a reasonable point of departure for many justice loving, people loving, moral atheists.  I know and respect several.

And.  God loves all people yet calls them to put him first in all things.  He calls me to himself against my nature.  I struggle with that.  Forgive my rambling, but that’s my current synthesis on how one Christ-follower should view gay friends.

Pascal

–1:16