Joseph Herrin (09-04-2013)
What are the spiritual roots of homosexuality, and how is homosexuality mirrored in the spiritual life of the church? These are important questions to consider, for to return to a condition that God can bless, men and women must recognize how they got so far afield of the will of Yahweh.
Rome was a very sensual society in the time of Christ and His apostles. The power and affluence of Rome led to tremendous decadence. Thus we find the apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Rome, addressing the subject of homosexuality. Wealth, and an inordinate emphasis upon leisure activities and pleasure, have often led to the corruption of societies throughout history. It is not coincidental that America is a world leader in promoting the homosexual lifestyle. America prides itself as the world’s last superpower. America is renowned for its affluence, its great wealth, with all the attendant luxuries. Americans have given themselves to every form of entertainment and sensuality, and they have exported the same to the nations of the world.
The prophet Ezekiel describes the sin of Sodom and the cities round about her.
“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had fulness of pride, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.”
We know that among the abominations of Sodom was homosexuality, for the story of the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities of the surrounding plain, are recorded in Genesis chapters 18 and 19. The men of Sodom were very aggressive in their homosexual lust, and sought to sexually ravish visitors to their city. Abraham’s nephew Lot understood the peril that awaited any strangers who entered Sodom’s gates. When two messengers from Yahweh visited the city, intending to spend the night in the town square, Lot pressed the men to come stay in his home for their own safety. The men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s home and demanded that he send the visitors out so that they could abuse them sexually. The evil reputation of the citizens of Sodom serves as the origin of the word Sodomite, and the description of homosexual behavior as sodomy.
As Yahweh informs us through the prophet Ezekiel, Sodom’s problems began with her affluence. When Yahweh gives a people an abundance it is so that they might be a blessing to others. The citizens of Sodom, however, were selfish. They showed no concern or compassion for the poor and needy. They took their abundance and spent it selfishly upon their own lusts. One can perceive the same attitude at work in America, and in the churches of the nation.
When I was twenty years old I made a trip from Oregon to Georgia, a distance of more than 3,000 miles. I was returning home to my parent’s house, and I had limited funds to get me there. I had purchased an old van some weeks earlier. I was about halfway home when I had a tire blow out. The van had custom rims with locking nuts that required a specially designed socket to remove them. I realized that I did not have the necessary socket, so I could not change the tire. I ended up having to call a tow service to bring the van into the nearest town to have the tire replaced.
This was an expense I had not foreseen, and most of my remaining gas money was spent on this repair. I made it perhaps 500 miles further, but still had a thousand miles to go, when I ran out of gas money. I stopped in a town and sold some personal possessions at a pawn shop, but I only received about 40 dollars. I continued driving until my gas gauge was empty and so was my wallet.
I found myself in a mid-sized town that was located along the Interstate highway. I decided to seek out a church in the town and ask them if they could help me to get home. I drove up to a large church with a beautiful new building. The church facilities were expansive. They had a beautiful sanctuary, a large office complex, a gymnasium with a full size basketball court and inside bleachers. It was evidently a very affluent church.
I went into the church office and spoke to a secretary, explaining my predicament. She said the head pastor was out of town that day, but she would get the assistant pastor to speak to me. I repeated my story to the assistant pastor. He responded by telling me that the churches in the town contributed to a fund that was administered by the local police department, and these funds were intended to help motorists who were stranded, such as myself. He gave me directions to the police department, and I made my way over there, with my gas gauge showing empty.
At the police department, it was confirmed that the town’s churches did contribute to a fund to help motorists in need, but I was told that the churches donated so little to this fund that it was exhausted by the first week of every month. The police department said there were no funds available to help me, so back I went to speak to the assistant pastor once more.
In the course of speaking to this minister, he began telling me about the magnificent building they had just recently completed. He told me that they had spent millions of dollars on it (this was at 1981 prices). Yet, when I pressed him again for help, he said that he did not have the authority to disburse church funds for people in need, and he reiterated that the head pastor was unavailable. Nor did this Christian man express a willingness to provide me help out of his own pocket.
Upon entering the church building I had to cross through the gymnasium which also served as an auditorium for the youth. I had noticed a group of youth present in the building, and it turned out that they were there to practice for a play. I was unaware throughout this process that these young people, all of whom appeared to be school-age teenagers, were watching and overhearing my conversation with the church secretary and assistant pastor.
Having failed to receive any assistance from this minister, I turned around to walk out to my van, having no idea what I would do next. As I walked through the auditorium some of the teenage youth stopped me. One of them spoke up and said that they had overheard my conversation with their assistant pastor. They said they were ashamed and embarrassed that he would not help me. These young people then began pulling money out of their wallets and pockets and they were able to scrape together about $40 dollars which they gave to me. With this money I was able to make it the rest of the way home. I drove up at my parent’s house with no money left and only fumes in my gas tank.
My experience with the staff of this affluent church had a profound impact upon me. I was very much reminded of the following words of Scripture:
“I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.” Then they themselves also will answer, saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?” Then He will answer them, saying, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”
In the eyes of Yahweh it was a great failure for the adults of this church to spend millions of dollars on buildings that have no eternal value, while refusing to give a very small amount of money to a young son of God who was stranded in a strange city far from his home. The root of this transgression was selfishness. The church members could personally enjoy the grand buildings they had constructed, but they perceived no material benefit in the act of caring for the poor and the needy.
A few years later I was speaking to an elder at a church I attended in Georgia. He was a man I admired much for his sincere faith. He told me of an experience he had while serving as a deacon at the First Baptist Church in the town nearby. The church had collected a significant sum of money in their bank accounts, and it was assigned to the deacons to decide what to do with the money. The church did not need any new buildings. It was not growing in numbers. The building itself was in very good repair, having had significant work done on it just a few years earlier.
This Christian man whom I respected suggested that the deacons use the money to help the needy in their town. The other deacons balked at this suggestion. They considered this money to be the “church’s money.” They argued that it should be spent on the church. After discussing the matter, the majority of the deacons voted to use the money to remodel the sanctuary, when there was no actual need to do so.
Whether men and women recognize the fact, this is where homosexuality first takes root. The first manifestation of homosexuality is selfishness, attended by an absence of concern for others. Some years back in a post to the Parables Blog I shared that homosexuality is a physical manifestation of self love. It is man in love with his own image.
Narcissus by Caravaggio
The Bible states:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Yahshua, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Yahshua said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” The essence of love is sacrificial giving and concern for others. Ezekiel states that the inhabitants of Sodom did NOT help the poor and the needy. They were consumed with self-love. This is a distortion of the inner character of a mature man in the image and likeness of God. Yahweh created mankind to be selfless givers, loving, compassionate, and quick to assist the poor and the needy. The residents of Sodom acted like pleasure gluttons. They had wealth, abundance of food, and fulness of pride. In their self-focus, they became haughty and began to commit abominations, while growing callous to the welfare of others. They began to treat visitors to their city as objects of lust. When their transgression became full, they were so estranged from the natural love of God which manifests as care for one’s neighbor that they sought to abuse, assault, and violate visitors to their city.
Those familiar with the tale of Narcissus recognize it as a homosexual tale. Greek men were known for their widespread homosexual behavior. Adult men particularly preyed upon young boys. The story of Narcissus was intended as a lesson to young boys who would spurn the advances of older homosexual men. As the fable goes, a young man named Narcissus repeatedly spurns the male suitors that come to him. One of these men is Ameinias, who commits suicide, after having his sexual advances rejected by Narcissus. Before he dies, Ameinias entreats Nemesis, the goddess of divine retribution, to punish Narcissus, causing him to know the pain of unrequited love.
In answer to the prayer of Ameinias, Nemesis causes Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Narcissus tries to seduce the young man he sees in the reflection of the water, only realizing that it is his own image when he tries to kiss the image he sees.
As myths go, this Greek fable contains some seeds of truth that are profound. In the story we see linked together the themes of self-love and homosexuality. We also find suicide as an integral part of the tale. As has been shared earlier in this series, suicide occurs at a much greater rate among homosexuals than heterosexuals. Suicide is linked to depression, and one common cause for depression is an inordinate attention upon self. Many people become despondent when they believe their life is unsatisfactory. When happiness, or some passion or desire of the soul is denied them, they become morose, and this leads some, like Ameinias, to suicide.
One other aspect of this tale, is how selfishness manifests in an absence of concern for others. Ameinias claimed to love Narcissus, yet he prayed that Narcissus might be cursed. The Greeks, as do people today, have confused passion with love. Love seeks the welfare of others. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Love is not easily provoked. Love keeps no record of wrongs done. Love does not seek its own. There is a great difference between lust and love. Ameinias lusted after Narcissus, and lust is also found at the roots of homosexuality today.
The attitude of the citizens of Sodom, and the attitudes expressed in the tale of Narcissus, are found among practicing homosexuals today. There is tremendous selfishness among homosexuals, and an absence of love and concern for others.
In an earlier post in this series I reported that homosexuals are seeking to coerce Christian business owners to violate their conscience. They are attempting to force Christians to embrace homosexuality, and to endorse homosexual practices such as gay marriage. A sister in Christ recently sent me an update on the story of a Christian couple who ran a bakery. Aaron and Melissa Klein operated a business in Oregon called Sweet Cakes by Melissa. When they turned down a request to make a cake for a homosexual wedding, the lesbian couple sued them. Gay activists then made the couple’s lives a nightmare as they drove away the couple’s customers, and they harassed this small bakery’s suppliers until they refused to sell to them.
Aaron and Melissa Klein
The Klein’s also became the target of homosexual aggression, receiving many vicious e-mails and telephone calls.
One emailer wished for the couple’s children to fall ill. Another expressed hope that Mr. Klein should be shot and even raped, The Blaze reported. And yet another wrote: “Here’s hoping you go out of business, you bigot.”
The Kleins ended up having to close their bakery, and move their operation to their home. Yet, homosexual selfishness, and mistreatment of others, is not limited to Christians. In various reports that I have read as I have been researching this series, one fact that has often been repeated in a variety of studies, is that homosexuals are frequently engaging in unprotected sex with others. Many homosexuals know they are infected with a disease (HIV/AIDS) that has no cure, whose treatment is expensive and the side effects of the treatment may lead to numerous health problems, and the disease will quite possibly lead to an early death of the person infected, but they choose not to disclose to their sexual partners that they are infected. This is the epitome of selfish behavior.
Grossly selfish acts begin with lesser acts of selfishness. Over time the conscience becomes seared until a person begins to treat others with an absolute indifference to their welfare. The Bible states, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor” (“Romans 13:10). Homosexuals speak much about being free to “love” whomever they wish. Yet, in pursuit of their unnatural passions, homosexuals are causing great injury to others. They are spreading sickness and death. They are preying upon youth and confused adolescents. They are precipitating an increase of mental illness, depression, and suicide. They are inducing others to violate their conscience, which is a selfish and evil act.
The citizens of Sodom progressed from manifesting a selfish attitude regarding their affluence and leisure, to committing abominations. Similarly, America has been growing in its attitude of selfishness for generations. There was a time when a majority of Americans practiced charity toward others. Neighbors cared for one another. The poor and needy in communities were cared for by churches and the local citizens rather than government agencies. Statistics have consistently shown that the poor give far more as a percentage of their income than the wealthier members of society.
The figures above do not show the true extent of the gap between the poorest, and the most wealthy members of society. The associated article reported that undocumented foreign laborers, who are predominantly poor, send billions of dollars annually back home to support their families, but these figures were not included in the calculations. The poor are also far more likely to manifest faith in God than those who are wealthy. This is a truth attested to in the Scriptures.
Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you...
The city of San Francisco, California, has the greatest number of homosexuals of any major city in America. Many things can be discerned by taking a look at this modern day incarnation of Sodom. Like Sodom, San Francisco is affluent. In May of this year it was reported that the median home price in the city had passed one million dollars, making it one of the most expensive cities in which to live in America. San Francisco is a center for the tech industry. It is a high income region. Nevertheless, it ranks in the bottom quarter of U.S. metropolitan areas in the percentage of income given to charity.
The graphic above reveals that out of 366 metropolitan areas in the United States, San Franciscans came in at number 286, giving on average only 3.9% of their income to charity. 78% of American cities gave a higher percentage of their income to the needs of others.
San Francisco is renowned for its hedonistic lifestyle. Residents live for pleasure. San Francisco has more restaurants and bars than any other city in America. There are more bars in San Francisco than in Las Vegas, and San Francisco far outpaces every other American city in the number of restaurants per capita. The second place community, Fairfield County, Connecticut, had one third fewer restaurants per capita than San Francisco. See article:
The Bible declares that Sodom was renowned for its abundance of food. What is remarkable about San Francisco is that these restaurants are not predominantly fast food, such as McDonalds. San Francisco is renowned for its multicultural cuisine. The people of the city like variety, and they are willing to pay exorbitant prices for it. An attention to eating and drinking are part of the culture of Sodom.
“It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”
Yet, the most startling sign of San Francisco’s selfish, hedonistic, attitude is revealed by the fact that the city has the lowest percentage of children of any large city in America. (The residents of San Francisco cannot blame the cost of raising children as the reason for their lack of charitable giving.)
The CHILDFREE Life - When having it all means not having children
A community’s attitude toward children reveals a lot about their moral character. Some may think that the wealthy would tend to have more children, for they can afford them. The opposite is actually true. The affluent are far more likely to be focused upon living a materially obsessed life that views children as a hindrance to their pursuit of selfish pleasure. This topic was the subject of a Time magazine article this month (pictured above).
Children are increasingly viewed as an interruption, an unwanted burden, and an intrusion upon a life devoted to the pursuit of pleasure. Raising children requires self-sacrifice. It is the antithesis of selfish living. It is little surprise then, that the city with the highest percentage of homosexuals in the nation also has the fewest children. Homosexuality is at its heart, a selfish lifestyle.
The low number of children in San Francisco is not an anomaly. The three cities with the greatest concentration of homosexuals on the West Coast are San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. They also are the three cities with the least children per capita. The 2010 census showed that just 13.4 % of San Francisco’s 805,235 residents are below the age of 18. There is actually a higher percentage of people aged 65 and older (13.6%) than there are children in San Francisco. For comparison purposes, the 2010 census for the city of Dallas, Texas, a comparatively conservative southern city with a far greater religious influence, revealed that 26.6% of the population was under the age of 18. This is double the rate of San Francisco. The following audio message from NPR speaks about the absence of children in San Francisco. The broadcast begins, “Imagine a city that is for the most part, without children. That’s what the future looks like in San Francisco. It already has the lowest number of kids per capita of any big city in America. Now, a new study shows that nearly half of the young families still living in San Francisco are planning to move within the next three years.”
A selfish, hedonistic, homosexual city is not a good place to raise children. What then will be the result of the government’s and media’s constant advocacy of homosexuality in America? America’s future can be seen in San Francisco. It will become a barren land, devoid of children. It will be a land of rampant consumerism, where the pursuit of pleasure leads ever increasing numbers of people to choose to forego having a family and raising children.
It is not coincidental that the murder of babies in the womb, and the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association’s publications, occurred in the same year, 1973. Both actions spring from the same root, which is selfishness. Both share a disregard for the life, health, and welfare of others. Both have led to tremendous societal ills in the last generation.
For those who care to ponder it, these same trends can be observed in the church. A church that is increasingly focused on comfort, ease, and pleasure, will make few converts. A church that rejects the cost of discipleship, suffering, and self-sacrifice will prove unable to bring forth children. The church is becoming a barren playground, focused on entertainment, always planning the next food-fest. Bible classes are being replaced with Starbucks. Truth is being cast away in favor of attractive deceptions.
Like Sodom, America’s days are numbered.
“They were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”
To be continued...
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