THE STAR CHRISTIAN WHO SHOULDN’T BE ONE
Dr Michael Brown – insultingly and damagingly some would say – doesn’t believe anyone ever has the right to call themselves a “gay Christian”. He has written a book Can You Be Gay and Christian? to insist you can’t. He has also stressed the point in a recent (June 28th), much anticipated debate with Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian on Moody Radio.
My question is can Michael Brown be called a Christian, and should Christians like those of Charisma News and Christian Post who give him space, interviews and general star billing as some kind of religious authority, despite his approval of Uganda on homosexuality, accept him as any voice of and for Christianity. The answer is yes if you care to approve ideas and trends you have no place as Christians to be doing.
THE BROWN/VINES GAY DEBATE
I will briefly review some of the points made in the recent debate. Vines started from the position that while all the Bible’s rare references to same sex behaviour are negative, none are negative towards real relationship, to refuse the possibility of which can be seriously damaging to people. He might usefully have mentioned but didn’t, that the Leviticus ban, the core issue along with Paul in Romans 1, was understood by the first century Jewish philosopher, Philo, to refer to pagan shrine prostitution (Philo, The Special Laws, III, VII, 40-42). It makes most sense if such is the case, and there’s little question that Paul, much influenced by the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon in Romans 1, makes a close association of his unnatural sinners (whoever precisely they are ) with pagan idolatry. Brown of course makes the Leviticus ruling a principle of universal natural law it is not presented as being and which much of the Torah including on sex never is – would Brown wish to campaign for raped women marrying their rapists, a ruling deeply involved with the most ancient values quite irrelevant to Christians and even Jews today?
Brown proposed there is zero tolerance for and nothing positive said or indicated for same sex relations the length of the bible whose call is simply to deny oneself, not to affirm oneself.
Well, obviously we are meant to affirm and love ourselves (which some gays may have difficulty doing amid hostility) because the commandment is to love our neighbour as ourselves. So plainly there’s denial and denial to consider.
Brown compared the gay situation to that of the gospel’s rich young ruler who sadly denies discipleship to cling to his money. The comparison is false and misleading. Money is something one can be reasonably objective about if one tries. A person’s most instinctive, spontaneous sense of self and ability to relate is something very different, and personally I would say that beyond the romantic/erotic attraction Vines defends, being genuinely gay engages an entire psychology and world view as any cultural studies can show. It’s not for the denying in the way Brown imagines.
MICHAEL BROWN’S GAY NEGATIVE BIBLE
Brown’s claim there is nothing gay positive the length of the bible is merest opinion. It doesn’t allow anyone else ( myself included as a gay scholar and theologian), their opinions to exist. In various of my books and in the article God and the Gay Gaps in Matthew Vines’s Vision (http://bit.ly/1izBz2C) I refer to everything from the plainly same sex attraction of David and Jonathan who have a covenant/marriage, through the unmarried Jeremiah and his ignored but real homoeroticism, to the more dangerous territory of Jesus and John (it’s Brown’s fellow Jewish Christians like Bishop Hugh Montefiore and Canon Paul Oestereicher who have suggested Jesus’ humanity was probably “homosexual” by current standards) and Jesus’ teaching about “eunuchs” born differently. In the times of Christ eunuch didn’t automatically refer either to castrates or even celibates. So I don’t agree with even Vines that the Bible is negative about everything same sex.
Brown protests that no goodness of relation could justify the sin involved in anything gay. He bolsters this idea with the claim the Bible offers nothing but an Edenic pattern for sex and relating. Humanity is not created with their “parts” to fit other than heterosexually. And there’s no emotional or spiritual compatibility possible save between opposite sexes.
Even ignoring that many Christians today take Eden more as parable than history, what nonsense! Then, even ignoring as regards gay compatability potential that David’s love for Jonathan was self-declared to be above that for women, what we must affirm is that the design argument is as silly and irrelevant as claiming that because the mouth was made for eating it was not made for kissing also. And homosexuality is anyway not against or unknown to nature generally, it is simply a variation intelligent people should accept. But then Brown also contends that people (properly submitted to the Lord!) have left homosexuality behind. Change is possible.
To the last point Vines protests that Exodus and its former leader Alan Chambers would deny the cure claims though he personally accepts that some people do have a “fluid” sexuality but it should be clear enough most people don’t. He accepts that observed stability of orientation and its implications for relation is a rather modern issue. (I somewhat question this for reasons other than Brown – what were all the medieval church marriages of brethren about?).
MICHAEL BROWN’S GAYS AGAINST GOD
For Brown, to suggest the relationship issue is modern is tantamount to accusing God of writing a bad bible oppressing us for centuries. It suggests Jesus didn’t understand orientation as we do (I would insist Jesus very much did realize there was a gay orientation even if Paul didn’t) and it places sex before all else as an identity in a purely modern way. And what about the claims that the likes of a man fixated on pre-teen girls could make if we concede to gay demands, asks Brown?
Here Brown is getting really ridiculous, though as regards the bad bible idea this is just fundamentalist and pedantic literalism at work. Brown’s Bible gets read like the Koran, every word direct from heaven. As there is no room for any cultural or personal or historical filters to the revelation, the supposed plain sense is all that matters and interpretation scarcely exists. All that does exist is people defying and challenging the God-dictated Bible with their false opinions and self-affirmations. But the Taliban could and do bring the same kind of charges against supposedly lax or liberal Muslims.
As to those Brown mentioned who could claim rights for their fixation on pre-teens, paedophiles in effect, let’s note (against the terrible fundamentalist libel that gay and paedophile is more or less the same thing) that paedophiles often turn out to be fathers of families or visitors of prostitutes. They are not fixated on youth to the exclusion of all else but just playing around with an alluring alternative.
Contrary to what Brown assumes, as I pointed out in the article prior to this, we DO have the right to challenge and argue with scripture, not totally dismiss and ignore it but meaningfully question it without being condemned as hopeless egotists or blasphemers. In Numbers 27 the daughters of Zelophehad challenge the justice of a Torah ruling and it is changed in their favour. In Act 10: 14 we have Peter denying the call to change given in vision because it appears to go against scripture. We are supposed as per Revelation to hear “what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev 2:11) not just the bible. I have also pointed out that I believe some evidence of revelation on things gay today exists, but conservative Christianity isn’t even beginning to listen to it. Sola Scriptura mania stops its ears.
THE WEEPING INTRANSIGENT
I won’t go further as regards the (uninspiring) debate. Instead I will comment a little upon the frustrating character of Michael Brown with its deceptive “this hurts me more than you” approach to his theme and which has him saying he has felt pain and wept at the pain of homosexuals….at the same time as he believes in zero tolerance for their opinions. The fact that for example – and disgracefully to a merely bullying Christian community – someone Vines knew was in danger even of going out once he had admitted to his orientation, doesn’t leave Brown questioning whether his Koranic, Taliban-style attitude to bible, (which personally I would call bibliolatry), truly works and makes for justice, righteousness and health. Suicides, breakdowns, depression, nothing moves Michael Brown. His Bible is necessarily as right as was the Inquisition’s Pope and Church.
People tend not to understand such a mentality and Christians who promote persons like Brown tend not to inquire into it, but I’m afraid I do and must. I can moreover see a few things via that mode of analysis that is as much “abomination” to evangelical Christians as homosexuality itself, namely the astrology that despite Talmudic rabbis and Essenes on the subject they see unilaterally fit to condemn as forbidden “divination”.
Michael Brown who was born a Jew but became a Christian following a youthful career as drug addict, is a Piscean, the weeping “I’m in pain” kind. (Ironically his nadir, Matthew Vines, is also a Piscean as was John Boswell of the ground breaking Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality. At the end of the Piscean era, whose end Christians should be taking very seriously, Pisceans are having a big day out on the gay theme before the inevitably more individualized and gay friendly Aquarian era fully dawns).
Neptune “rules” Pisces and, afflicted, is major in the charts of addicts of any sign. I rightly guessed I would find Neptune afflicted at Brown’s birth, – the pattern is Neptune square Uranus and quincunx Sun in Pisces. Afflicted Neptune also inclines to muddled facts and major illusions such as Brown tends to display in his shocking lack of awareness of the kind of responsibilities he has for evangelical influences in Africa and Russia on gay issues. He sees himself as Pisceans often do, as kindly, sensitive, helpful.
The fact that Brown just can’t leave gay issues alone is involved with the fact he has the gay planet Uranus in positive trine aspect to his natal sun which could help make him very gay sympathetic….except that there are the Neptune afflictions and on the sexual level fluidity and bisexuality have much to do with these; so he feels a constant need to defend his borders lest the Piscean waters overflow, so to speak.
I don’t like to criticize Messianic (Christian) Jews as they can sometimes have a rough and alienated time of it (which itself might have taught Brown a few things about the gay situation) but Brown belongs to the crazy wing of Jewish Christian. There has been some association with sensations seeking Sid Roth who just recently has been promoting a Messianic rabbi who will improve your prayer efficiency by reciting things in Hebrew. Roth has even promoted supernatural kits to induce greater nearness to God and power while for the height of scandal and presumption which surely no gay Christian could reach, selling CDs to help you manage to speak in tongues properly. In short Roth is not far off Simon Magus himself. One should beware such people and the Browns who associate with them.
There is more one could say. I won’t however say more than I think it’s time Dr Brown either told himself, or the Christian community told him, to find some other subjects than the gay one to engage him. I am far from commending all that leaders of the gay community or even notable gay Christians say and do, but to avoid unnecessary spiritual and psychological damage, contributions like those of Brown should be opposed. It’s absolutely not good enough to in effect excommunicate gays inside and outside the churches from Christ and Christianity from the outset by declaring there’s a 100% heterosexual bible which they must accept or else.
It’s not only untrue about the Bible but it’s an offence to some people’s deepest sense of integrity as regards who and what they are. This is not the way of Christ who didn’t turn away the almost certainly gay centurion who wanted his “boy” cured, and it must not be presented as such. Some will never cope, a few from conservative homes may at worst go suicidal while Brown smiles sweetly on and requests prayer support in his spiritual battle against gay “agendas”. But suppose he is himself a part of the spiritual problem, preventing God’s word to this generation being heard?
I accept that Brown has suffered some merely scurrilous attacks from gay extremists that most of us would never approve, but to some extent he is too upsetting a figure not to have invited something of this. The weeping Christian, the avuncular image, the martyr to truth I think Brown sees himself as being, in reality are scarcely more helpful than the Taliban imposing Sharia for people’s best whether they see it as such or not. The tears don’t excuse the mistakes, I’m afraid. People do get hurt and confused as Brown rattles eagerly on. And he does speak very fast.