Sean Kosofsky

Sodom Story is Pro-Gay? You heard me!

Filed By Sean Kosofsky | October 18, 2007 8:01 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Christ Community Church, Christian beliefs, Sodom

I had a very pleasant surprise this past Sunday when I addressed over 300 people at Christ Community Church (CCC), a progressive Christian Church in Spring Lake, Michigan. For those of you that have never heard of Spring Lake, it is a small conservative town in very conservative West Michigan.

But CCC is an oasis in the politically and socially fundamentalist region of my home state. You can see the footage of my remarks here.

The Pastor of CCC is Ian Lawton, an awesome Aussie with progressive credentials to boot. His sermon on Sunday not only surprised me -- it improved my posture and alertness in Church (something very rare for me).

I have been spending my entire gay life refuting passages from the Bible and I have it down to a pretty good pitch, but Pastor Lawton's sermon caught me off guard with a perspective I had not heard before.

According to Lawton, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is not just "not anti-gay" it is a pro-gay story. It teaches a valuable lesson about what can happen to a society that is inhospitable. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because they hoarded, outlawed charity, and were generally unkind to strangers, immigrants and anyone living on the margins of society. The lesson of this story in Genesis is told all throughout the Bible. The irony, Lawton explains, is that the very story about inhospitality has been perverted in order to shame, diminish and attack sexual minorities.

The sermon is not too long and I strongly encourage you to read it because it is very empowering. It is exactly this honest and compassionate approach to the Bible that our national dialogue needs.

Leave me your thoughts on my brief remarks and Pastor Lawton's sermon.


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"We live as angels among the Sodomites. And I would not that my boy should suffer so"--Jamie Oneill, "At Swim, Two Boys"

It doesn't take a scholar to understand Ezekiel 16:49-50 on the "sin of Sodom". The passage is somewhat obscure, but is probably my favorite under-rated chapters in the Bible. (See: especially 16:1-6 on Israel's beginnings from God's view.)

An informed Biblical viewpoint on homosexual conduct as "sin" should see the account of Genesis 18-19 as, at most, a sidebar.

Yes, Sean, that is exactly what some Bible scholars say --- the sin of Sodom was inhospitality, including rape, but not necessarily same-gender sexuality itself.

When I write on this subject, I point out, as you alluded, that it is those who are using their religion to persecute sexual minorities who are being sinfully inhospitable. Then my favorite question is, "Will the real Sodomites please stand up?"

(Search the archives with my name "Allen J. Lopp" at www.corydondemocrat.com to find my article published April 24, 2007, after a local preacher insisted on calling gay men --- and lesbians, too! --- "sodomites". I would give you a link, but unfortunately, that website doesn't support fixed hyperlinks very well.)

Ezekiel 16:49-50
New International Version (NIV)

49 " 'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

Read "The Children are Free" By Pastor Jeff Miner of Jesus Metroploitan Community Church. Spells out the same thing. Plus other info on the clobber passages usually used aginst gays.

Zach Adamson | October 19, 2007 7:43 AM

To hear pastor Jeff's sermon on this very topic.. click here..:

http://www.jesusmcc.org/audio/2000/JesusMCC-2000-06-11.mp3

I would echo Phil's endorsement of Jeff Miner's book. I have a copy and have given away several others. Pastor Jeff is the minister to the Indy JMCC church - the largest in the Midwest.

Sean Kosofsky Sean Kosofsky | October 19, 2007 8:21 AM

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions for further reading and viewing.