Before I start on the book critique, I want to first promote a little thought: There is a significant difference between feelings, attractions, compulsions, desires, etc… and behavior. SSA is not immoral, wrong or sinful and it doesn’t make anyone into less of a person. There are many SSA people in the world who are in a deep and committed relationship with Christ. Some of them may be saints and they are certainly disciples. I will not ask for the cross they carry. But the reason they are able to enter into their deep and personal relationship with Christ is because they put Christ front and center in their life and they practice chastity and abstinence. In other words, they resist their attractions or if they have stumbled in their walk with Christ, they have repented or are in the process of repentance.
There is absolutely nothing about homosexual behavior that is any more sinful than adultery, theft, hatred, dishonesty or any of the other sins to which many of us are so attracted. We all despise adultery and the consequences adultery creates for marriage and family. We all despise hatred and its tendency to kill and wound. But we are able to open our hearts to adulterers, those who have lived a life of hatred, the thief who is able to leave behind his life of crime and dishonesty. If any one of these people has experienced a conversion and joined us at Mass, we would recognize their struggle, their repentance and the work of Christ in their life. We would accept them as a fellow Christian and we would help them in their struggle to remain united with Christ. We need to do the same with those who suffer from SSA, but who choose Christ instead of the LGBT lifestyle.
This thought stems from a new approach to homosexuality and Christianity called The Third Way. Blackstone Films has created a powerful short film that every Christian should watch. You can find it at: http://vimeo.com/93079367
The LGBT message (the message in Bishop Robinson’s book) is detrimental to anyone who suffers from SSA yet desires a deep and personal relationship with Christ. The LGBT message leads these people away from Christ and deceives them into a belief that is the exact opposite of the desire written on their heart. Christ Himself tells us just how deplorable this deception is in God’s eyes. “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.”
Woe to he who brings forth an occasion for stumbling. Forgiveness follows repentance.
Therefore, to continue with the blog I started yesterday: Of all the inaccuracies in Bishop Robinson’s recent book, here are what I feel are ten out of his Top 20 which I list in chronological order according to their appearance in his book:
1. Bishop Robinson cites several facts, findings and statistics in the book, but provides absolutely no sources for many of them. This is a red flag for anyone who wants a reliable and honest argument. There is a total of one footnote in the entire book. He does refer to books and bible passages in various chapters, but he makes some very broad assertions in several areas without any source or factual basis whatsoever.
2. He repeatedly talks about his commitment to marriage, yet he divorced his wife and left his two daughters (age 4 and 8 at the time) to pursue an active life of homosexual behavior. His most recent divorce and his past history show that his commitment to marriage is not nearly as significant as he seems to perceive it to be.
3. He prayed about his traditional marriage and determined that the only way to “honor each other in the Name of God”, was to divorce. (Pg. 9) That is not what Christ said in Matthew 19:3-12.
4. God told him, in a still, small voice, to engage in homosexual behavior (Pg 10). I propose that wasn’t God’s voice.
5. He claims that neither scripture nor orthodox theology teaches us it is wrong to open the institution of marriage to SSM. (Pg. 15) Actually the entire bible (not just a handful of passages), all of Christianity and 2000 years of orthodox theology, morality and natural law show us that many behaviors are incompatible with Christianity. This includes things like dishonesty, theft, adultery, etc…, right along with homosexual acts. Yet Bishop Robinson focuses only on the homosexual behavior, plucking one behavior out of the bible as though it was all just a big mistranslation. If we can rationalize homosexual behavior as an acceptable Christian behavior, we can expect people will do the same with active and ongoing adultery, promiscuity, dishonesty, etc…
6. His first chapter is titled, “Why Gay Marriage Now?” It is a question to which he provides no sound answer. The answer he does give is simply that the culture seems receptive to it, so they should seize the opportunity and sort out all the problems once they have the laws in place. The more honest answer to this question actually shows up in the second chapter on pg. 34 and later on pgs. 44, 57 & 136: The truth is that the LGBT community believes that SSM is essential if they hope to achieve social, political and ultimately, economic power. Desire for power and the yearning for emotional contentment are the true motivators in the aggressive push for SSM.
7. On pg. 42, Bishop Robinson equates the LGBT lobby and activists to Jesus Christ. Aside from the blasphemous nature of this comparison, Bishop Robinson fails to recognize that the LGBT lobbyists and activists are extremely intolerant of anyone who disagrees with their ideology (very un-Christ like) and they have absolutely no interest in repentance which was a major teaching of Christ. Bishop Robinson suffers from a common ailment called Christian Amnesia. He forgets a recurring message in scripture: Repentance. Christ ate with the tax collectors, the criminals, the dispossessed and the sinners, but he called for repentance. He never said their choices were okay. John 8:11 contains the most overlooked words of Christ, “Go on your way, and from now on do not sin again”.
8. Bishop Robinson says God wants us to plead the case for LGBT behavior. (Pg. 43) Once again, Bishop Robinson shows symptoms of Christian Amnesia and seeks to rationalize LGBT behavior as exemplary Christian behavior, without any need for repentance.
9. Bishop Robinson’s theory on how Christians can come to accept the LGBT lifestyle is extremely simple: Believe the LGBT advocates. (Pg. 45-46) According to Bishop Robinson, nothing more is necessary. All Christians need to do is listen to the LGBT message and believe it. In other words, don’t use reason or research sources, statistics, facts, etc…. Nor should you look at 2000 years of theology and philosophy. Be like John Kerry and ignore all that stuff from the last 2000 years of civilization.
10. Bishop Robinson feels that homosexuals are defined by their SSA. (Pgs. 52 & 55) I doubt there is anyone on the face of the earth who has to accept this more devoutly than Bishop Robinson himself. He is a man who is supposed to have dedicated his life to Christ, first as an Episcopal priest and then as a bishop. If he wanted to remain a religious leader, he had to buy this lie, hook, line and sinker. As you can see, he did.
I’ll finish out the Top 20 in my next blog in this series. But until then, consider The Third Way and the risk of causing anyone to stumble on their path with Christ.