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haveapez

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm not going to debate my beliefs on right or wrong of this issue, but this is pretty big news, so I thought I'd post it...

http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/87679098.html?fb_action_ids=489141201215363&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=
datraceman

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Reply with quote  #2 
That whole situation is so difficult to weed through for so many reasons. 

1) Dan did not come out and say he supported gay marriage. However the way his Twitter posts read, it felt like he was 100% for gay marriage and was provoking people who disagreed with him.

2) Dan posted on his blog an apology and explanation that I agree with. Twitter is not the forum to engage in lengthy debates. There are too many different ways a post can be interpreted in 140 character soundbites. 

3) The Internet has given birth to the immediate reaction. To me, this is the worst part of our society now. If someone posts something on the Internet, it is immediately interpreted and regurgitated by people on Twitter and Facebook. No one stops and thinks anymore. They also do not research or get the whole story. As soon as these posts went out, some Christian radio stations banned Jars of Clay music from their stations which is more ludicrous because I can guarantee people weren't reading or asking Dan for clarification on what he meant. They reacted and made a decision. Now, when they read his blog and see what happened and what he really tried to say, they look like morons too but I guarantee MOST of them won't apologize to Dan for their overreaction.

4) The one statement that angered the hornet's nest more than anything was when he said that people who use the phrase "scripture says" to start their arguments don't work. Now, this I had an issue with initially, but after a few minutes of thinking about it I realized his intention of saying that was people bend scripture to make their point and take it out of context rather than looking at the whole picture. So, in this "immediate reaction" society, people lost their minds. 

5) Gay marriage is the hot topic of the moment in America. I don't want to get into a debate on it, nor do I want to divulge my personal view on it because this is a Jars of Clay message board. However, whether gay marriage is right/wrong/sin/etc., we are called to love all people. The point Dan tried to make (very poorly looking back) is that just because someone is gay, does not mean we shun them. As Christians we are called to love one another.

The tough questions we have to wrestle with as the Church (in my opinion mind you) is how far does this go? In the Bible, it says homosexuality is a sin very clearly throughout Paul's writing in the New Testament. However, drunkenness is also a sin very clearly throughout his writing as well. As the Church we should be praying for guidance on how best to love gay people without a) condoning the lifestyle and b) not being hateful or un-Christlike. I don't have the answer for this and the problem is nobody does for even more reasons. 

I have feeling these are the questions Dan was trying to ask but he got caught up in the people on the Internet attacking him and it made things worse. 

One more related topic to this and I'll shut it down for now...

I get more and more irritated by the people who post blogs on these things and then offer to "speak with Dan" to show him where he got off track. It scares me that Christian bloggers feel like they are an authority on these issues and it comes across as self-promoting and arrogant that they feel like he would speak to THEM about this and it will all be better. They can set him on track. To be fair, they might be 100% sincere BUT it still bothers me. The Internet is a wonderful place that will forever be a part of our lives now. I make a living working on the Internet. Without it, I wouldn't have a job or a roof over my head. However, with the power of the Internet comes great responsibility and I feel like we as humans are still having a hard time grasping how best to use it. 
murlough23

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Reply with quote  #3 
I've been looking for a thread on this topic for the last couple days. Wasn't sure if I wanted to start one, but I kinda snuck the topic in through the back door while speculating on why the April StageIt show had been cancelled. Probably more appropriate to just discuss it here.

I'll start with a disclaimer: I tend to think things out as I'm typing them, and my posts tend to get rather long as a result, especially when I'm passionate about a subject. Don't take any of this to imply that I'm going on the attack against the person I'm quoting... I just do that to make it clear which bits of the discussion I'm responding to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman
1) Dan did not come out and say he supported gay marriage. However the way his Twitter posts read, it felt like he was 100% for gay marriage and was provoking people who disagreed with him.

2) Dan posted on his blog an apology and explanation that I agree with. Twitter is not the forum to engage in lengthy debates. There are too many different ways a post can be interpreted in 140 character soundbites. 


I took his comments as though they had come from a place of curiosity, not from the desire to start a fight. But since I'm so used to my own thoughts on this issue getting misinterpreted, I've developed a bit of a sense for when comments on the subject can be taken out of context. It's almost impossible to avoid that without overexplaining yourself... and even then it tends to get a TL;DR type response from most people, so I can see the allure of Twitter even though Dan obviously realized after the fact that this was a very bad idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman
3) The Internet has given birth to the immediate reaction... No one stops and thinks anymore. They also do not research or get the whole story.


Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times WORD to those statements! We are such a knee-jerk society that we pick our Presidents like this. It has to stop. (Though I'm honestly not sure we were that much smarter when news took days to travel by steam train or Pony Express or smoke signals or whatever... it was just easier for public figures to hide their gaffes from us back then.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman
As soon as these posts went out, some Christian radio stations banned Jars of Clay music from their stations which is more ludicrous because I can guarantee people weren't reading or asking Dan for clarification on what he meant. They reacted and made a decision. Now, when they read his blog and see what happened and what he really tried to say, they look like morons too but I guarantee MOST of them won't apologize to Dan for their overreaction.


There's such an "us or them" mentality in Christian subculture nowadays, that seems to only get more and more fortified as mainstream culture around us becomes more and more permissive of things we consider sin. We just don't know how to deal with being different from the mainstream in a rational and respectful way, so what we end up doing is creating our own "mainstream" that we can ostracize people from as some sort of secret revenge for the way we feel society at large is ostracizing and oppressing Christians. (I don't personally agree with that viewpoint on society at large... it's just one that I suspect a lot of Christians have.)

The fallout of this sort of black-and-white thinking is that we buy into "slippery slope" arguments with alarming ease. Anyone who has even the appearance of going against the grain, or questioning the authority of the Bible (or more accurately, the interpretations of the Bible that make us feel most comfortable within our little bubble), or being "worldly" is viewed like a cancer that must be cut out. We pay lip service to the idea of loving the sinner and hating the sin, but in practice, we Christians are not really known for our love. I wish there were more examples floating around out there on the Internet of Christians behaving in a loving and charitable manner towards folks they had strong ideological disagreements with. And I'm sure there are some... but the numerous instances of intolerance and hate drown them out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman
4) The one statement that angered the hornet's nest more than anything was when he said that people who use the phrase "scripture says" to start their arguments don't work. Now, this I had an issue with initially, but after a few minutes of thinking about it I realized his intention of saying that was people bend scripture to make their point and take it out of context rather than looking at the whole picture.


Yeah, that may have been Dan's mostly poorly worded post of all. Again, I got the gist of what we was getting at there, but I cringed at how he had phrased it because I knew what the response would be.

In addition to your very excellent point about bending scripture and taking it out of context, I think that a big part of the problem of just quoting scripture to people is that we let that be the end of the story. "The Bible says being gay is a sin, so go... stop being gay or something. And don't come back until you're a Godly straight person!" I can't tell you how many gay people are out there who feel like, every opportunity a Christian gets to let them know what the Bible says, they take it. As if this were somehow new information to these people. At some point I realized that these folks either (a) aren't Christians in the first place, so they haven't taken the previous step of accepting the Bible as authoritative, or (b) are Christians and just disagree with that particular interpretation of the Bible. If it's (a), then we should take a step back and ask ourselves whether we had already stopped sinning before we became Christians. BECAUSE OUR INABILITY TO DO THIS ON OUR OWN IS KIND OF THE POINT OF BEING A CHRISTIAN IN THE FIRST PLACE. If it's (b), then we can debate until we're blue in the face, but you'd better be prepared to consider the context, because they sure as heck had to take those words at more than just the face value of their English translations to arrive at that conclusion. (Not to mention, they probably know about all this other stuff the Bible says is a sin that you and I are totally guilty of.) What happens when you've expanded upon all of the talking points and neither of you can see it the other person's way? Do you just give up on loving the person at that point? Are you no longer allowed to belong to the same community of believers? It's incredibly awkward and messy to do so, but I believe we have to be able to love even in circumstances of doctrinal disagreement. The fact that we have so many tiny slivers of splinters of sects of denominations illustrates that historically, we Christians are really, really bad at this in general.

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman
5) Gay marriage is the hot topic of the moment in America. I don't want to get into a debate on it, nor do I want to divulge my personal view on it because this is a Jars of Clay message board.


I think it's fair to address the topic as it affects Jars of Clay, their fandom, and the subculture of "Christian music" in general, because that's where the conflict lies. The debate is less important to me than how we deal with each other. I've always thought of Jars of Clay as a thoughtful, honest Christian band in a climate where it doesn't always pay off for musicians to be thoughtful and honest. The easier path is to say what the crowd wants to hear in the same style as the hit singles from your previous album. Don't make them think. Don't make them squirm. Don't question where the teachings and actions of Christ might differ from the thoughts and behaviors we've been conditioned to believe are "Christian". Because Dan and the rest of the band have been willing to do this, at least to some degree, I've always believed that their fandom (meaning all of you folks who post here and a bunch of other people too) is, on average, more mature than the stereotype of cookie cutter Christianity. We're not all going to hold the same beliefs on this issue, or on a lot of others, but my hope is that our differing opinions are well thought-out, researched, and prayerfully considered ones, and that when we disagree about these things, we do so respectfully, without losing sight of the much more important things we have in common.

(And yes, I realize I'm saying this as a person who has his share of infamy on this and other boards, due to needless arguments and flame wars he's started by reacting to things in a knee-jerk fashion in the past. I talk about these follies because I've lived through them and I still struggle not to lose my temper in such situations.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman
However, whether gay marriage is right/wrong/sin/etc., we are called to love all people. The point Dan tried to make (very poorly looking back) is that just because someone is gay, does not mean we shun them. As Christians we are called to love one another.


What does it look like to really show Christ-like love to someone who is gay? Especially to Christians who struggle with homosexuality and hope to not be cutoff from community with their fellow believers because of it? Sure, at some point there may need to be a "tough love" aspect of that equation, but I don't think that's the start or the end of it by a long shot.

What's really interesting about this issue is how people's hearts tend to soften when the issue really hits home for them. Like when a family member or close friend or one of your former pastors (yes, in my case that really happened) comes out of the closet. It doesn't mean your theological beliefs change and suddenly you think "gay is OK", but it tends to make you start to re-think how you treated gays and lesbians before when you had no personal stake in the issue. Perhaps we'd feel more compassionate and exercise better love if these folks could actually be part of our faith communities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman
The tough questions we have to wrestle with as the Church (in my opinion mind you) is how far does this go? In the Bible, it says homosexuality is a sin very clearly throughout Paul's writing in the New Testament. However, drunkenness is also a sin very clearly throughout his writing as well.


While no analogy between two sins is going to work perfectly, especially when one involves human sexuality and a need for companionship and the other involves the abuse of a substance which (depending on your interpretation) might be fine to use in moderation, this does lead us to helpful questions like: How should my church treat an alcoholic? Would they just berate the person for drinking and constantly remind them of the verse that says they shouldn't be drunk, or would they come alongside that person in their journey toward sobriety? Admittedly, the place where I'd struggle would be if the guy was getting so drunk that he endangered innocent people on the road, or beat his wife and kids or something. Then I might step in more forcefully to keep others in my community from being harmed. But if he was only hurting himself, I'd try to give him the time and space to work that out, pointing him towards resources that would be helpful to his recovery as best I could.

It may not be that easy with a gay Christian (not that it's easy for a alcoholic to begin with!), because there's a lot of controversy over whether "ex-gays" are really cured for good and I don't want to get into that. But let's think worst case scenario. If the person wanted to change, and tried, but couldn't, how would you love them then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman
As the Church we should be praying for guidance on how best to love gay people without a) condoning the lifestyle and b) not being hateful or un-Christlike. I don't have the answer for this and the problem is nobody does for even more reasons.


Yeah, it's uncharted territory. That's where my church is at right now. It isn't comfortable for either side - the Christians who just don't want to have gay people around them at all because it squicks them out, and the Christians who consider themselves "gay allies" and suspect that we've historically interpreted the Bible wrong on this topic. Both sides like to accuse each other of not really being Christians. I figure that's the equivalent of comparing someone to Hitler for the sake of winning an argument on the Internet. It just shuts down discussion by deluding yourself into thinking you can discredit everything they say. But to try to take that middle road and say, "I still adhere to the traditional theology, but I also want to take the theology of Christ's challenging, uncomfortable love for sinners every bit as seriously." There aren't a lot of guidelines for how to do this well, so we're just gonna have to figure it out as we go... and the sparse attendance some Sunday mornings tells me that a lot of folks in both camps would rather not bother.

I have feeling these are the questions Dan was trying to ask but he got caught up in the people on the Internet attacking him and it made things worse. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by datraceman
I get more and more irritated by the people who post blogs on these things and then offer to "speak with Dan" to show him where he got off track. It scares me that Christian bloggers feel like they are an authority on these issues and it comes across as self-promoting and arrogant that they feel like he would speak to THEM about this and it will all be better.


I tend to find that arrogant as well, but if the intent is more to offer a different viewpoint and let onlookers decide who they agree with, then the person composing the rebuttal should at least show their work, which means quoting the Bible and explaining their understanding of those passages. Many examples of this probably come from a place of pride and not humility, but I believe it's possible to have a passionate opposing viewpoint on such a subject and to respond to it respectfully.

I think it's a bit flawed in the first place that we expect Christian entertainers to be "teachers" in some sense. Sometimes they get shunned for making honest mistakes or for not having the same theology as us. I've had to learn to look at them as fellow pilgrims telling the stories of their journeys, and because sinful humans are unreliable narrators, sometimes those stories will illustrate puzzles they haven't finished putting together yet. Sometimes a songwriter wants to illustrate these broken pieces and their aim isn't to teach us how to live or behave, but just to show that this brokenness exists and maybe offer some solace to others who have experienced it. I'm glad that I arrived at this point of realizing songwriters are not all teachers; otherwise I would think a song like "Loneliness and Alcohol" was just irresponsibly advising us all to become drunken hermits.

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DISCLAIMER: The preceding post was a statement of opinion, and does not reflect the views of the members of Jars of Clay, the moderators of Jarchives, or any member of the Holy Trinity. In fact, it is only my opinion that this is my opinion. In my opinion, you may choose to believe that my opinion is fact, if in fact you are of the opinion that you are allowed to choose what you believe, which presupposes the opinion that you do in fact exist in the first place - in my humble opinion, of course. It is my opinion that all of my opinions are humble opinions, but this does not indicate a bias on my part against opinions which are, in my opinion, proud opinions.
haveapez

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Reply with quote  #4 
I'm just glad that Dan has seen that maybe Twitter isn't the best outlet to discuss matters such as these. 
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