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Monday, November 27, 2006

Ted Haggard: Non-Gay For Pay?

posted by on November 27 at 13:45 PM

Per Dave’s post from earlier today: It appears that Rev. Ted Haggard is going to be in some sort of gay-sex-and-meth reprogram camp for the next three to five years. Wow! It takes a long time to beat the gay out of someone who doesn’t even want to be gay—who knew? Can you imagine how long it would take to de-gay someone like me? Someone who wakes up every day thrilled to itsy-bitsy pieces that he’s a pole smoker? Still, that doesn’t stop the right-wing Christian nuts from sending me emails about the miracle that awaits me if I should just accept Jesus H. Christ as my personal trainer. Or something.

A lot of letters explaining that Jesus is laying in wait, ready to pounce, and change me from gay to straight came in after I threatened in a recent column to bitch-slap the next fundie douche who sent me a note about Jesus flipping my switch. Jesus is ready to work a miracle in my life, they tell me, even if he can’t be bothered to work on in Haggard’s. (Having seen my boyfriend in Speedo, I’d say Jesus already worked a miracle in my life.) The arrival of these letters can only mean one thing: there are a lot fundies out there who want to be slapped around by fags. (In that column I also threatened to shit in Paula Zahn’s mouth if she ran another credulous piece about ex-gay conversion therapy. She hasn’t, so clearly Zahn doesn’t want me to shit in her mouth.)

But that’s not what I this post is about. What I really wondered, after reading about the long, hard road in front Ted Haggard was this: Are they paying him? Haggard has a wife and a family—six hungry mouths to, uh, feed. If he spends all his time having the gay beat out of him, how is Haggard going to support his wife and kids? How will he keep a roof over their heads?

Which makes me wonder…

Is Ted Haggard drawing some sort of salary while he’s on his big ex-gay adventure? And if he is, how are we supposed to view it as something other than hush money? Haggard embarrassed the hell out of his evangelical buddies; Dobson seems beside himself with less-than-Christian rage. What really annoys them about Haggard’s fall from grace is how neatly it gives the lie to their whole ex-gay argument. Again, if Jesus didn’t make Haggard straight, and if it’s going to take five years for the top evangelical ministers in the country to pray the gay out of him—again—what “hope” is there for the rest of us? Why should we bother?


Being a cynic and a fag that believes that male homosexuality is innate and fixed, I can’t help but wonder if Big Gay Ted is being bought off. The last thing the evangelicals want is for Big Gay Ted to pull a Jim “I Am a Gay American” McGreevey. They don’t want Big Gay Ted to come out, renounce his previous support for ex-gay ministries, write a book, and go on Oprah.

We can’t see what’s inside Big Gay Ted’s heart—or pants, or rectum, or anything else—but I think we have a right to ask how Big Gay Ted is supporting himself these days. If he is getting some sort of salary or stipend, then we have a right to doubt his sincerity. Big Gay Ted may want to come out now but can’t—not with an angry wife and five furious children to support.

After the jump: Some of the letters I’ve received from fundie douches about Jesus wanting to change my sexual orientation. Be warned: The letters are long, and the first is from a person didn’t get that “mea gulpa” was an oral sex joke.

Subject: Re: Reply to Confused Coloradoan on Nov.17 in HK Magazine

To Dan Savage,

I think it was the first time I ever read your column in the HK Magazine and I cannot help but want to reply to your column about the Ted Haggard scandal.

I can see where your point was coming from being someone who does not practice religion but I really like to share with you a few points myself. Don't worry, I am not another typical Protestant evangelical or fundie you wrote about.

Yes, it is true that giving your heart to Jesus will bring about abundant graces and amazing transformation but only if you open yourself up to receiving His graces. Anything is possible through Christ "for nothing is impossible with God". (Luke 1:37) This is called faith. "Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) The faith of Christians is not a superstitious one. It is true that sometimes faith may bring about miracles but miracles do not happen all the time. Just because there is no miracle doesn't mean our God is not real or the Almighty One. God has a plan and a time for everyone and everything - which is something we can never fully comprehend or fathom. But one thing we can be sure of, as Christians believe God is with us through the good times and bad times. We must not give up our faith when the going gets tough. God likes to test us to "refine us like gold" in order to make us stronger. That is how we learn and grow, through trial and suffering. We hold on to our faith even when things don't go the way we expect them to. This is called perseverence.

Do you know the story of Job from the Old Testament? Or how about the Beatitudes Jesus taught us, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.." (Matthew 5: 3-4) Do not be afraid to suffer, for our reward will be great in heaven. God draws closer to Him those who suffer. Our life is a process to grow in likeness to Jesus and it is a journey home to God where we belong. St. Augustine wrote in his famous Confessions, "You (God) have made us for yourself and our heart is restless, until they rest in you."

God didn't refuse to cure Haggard. Haggard refused to let himself be cured. As he himself mentioned, he is constantly fighting temptations throughout his life but I guess he chose sin over God most of the time. He obviously didn't practice what he preached. God has always been there for him but he decided to choose himself over God. He gave in to his weakness. (check out Romans whole of chapter 6) Everyone has weaknesses where Satan can attack us but as Christians we strive not to give in, the more virtuous we try to become, the more temptations Satan will bring against us
because he wants to take us away from God. It is a lifetime struggle but this is the purpose of life. Life is a gift from God for us to prepare ourselves for eternal life with Him.

"Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-8)

The God of Christianity is not like the Buddha where worshippers pay for some incense, pray to win the lottery and then wait for some miracle to happen. God knows what is best for us and sometimes we don't always get what we pray for because what we really want may not be good for us but God will only gives us what is best for us.

Yeah well, Haggard founded a church with thousands of members but he can still be a sinner. Many popes from the Middle Ages were corrupt too, and Catholic priests
also have sexual scandals, so what? That's life, that's human. Only Jesus (God Himself) is holy and perfect. What we try to do in this life time is to strive to become like Jesus so we may be worth of our salvation - that Jesus came into the world to suffer
and die for us so that we may be saved. (see Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ). God wants to show us this unconditional, self-giving love and He wants us to love Him and to love others in the same way. This agape love is given to us for free and God
doesn't expect anything in return. He gave us free will so we may choose to turn to Him ourselves. God is all powerful, He could have made us all love him from the beginning of time but no He wants us to love Him freely with our own hearts.

Salvation is not a single moment or one time experience but a life time refining process until we see God face to face. I think the problem with Haggard, like most evangelicals, is that they believe once they believe, they are saved. They believe the
grace of God and their faith is enough. That is true to a certain extent but we also need to show our faith is real and alive through our actions, aka "good works". This doesn't mean we are earning our salvation. This only means we obey God's commandments and we strive to live a holy life out of love for God (though this is extremely difficult, believe me, but the faithful continue to strive) and it will be a life
time process as I already mentioned. Jesus himself said "Not everyone who calls me Lord, Lord will go into heaven." Only those who do His will will gain eternal life. Martin Luther who broke away from the Catholic Church and brought about the Reformation
(hence Protestantism), said it was ok to continue to sin because once he believed, he was already saved.

Now that was a twisted interpretation of faith. When we come to believe in God, we are promised salvation if we persevere in our faith. If we only believe with our mouth but continue to sin in body and heart (unrepentant), there will be a good chance we will go to hell. I am not only talking about Haggard but everyone of us.

The life of a Christian is not an easy one. Our commitment must be founded on true and persevering faith. Everyone one of us struggle with temptation every day of our lives, especially priests but with faith we strive harder to fight against them all the time. How do you know what Haggard did to fight against his temptations?

I do feel compassion for Haggard. Yes, he has fallen but he can rise again if he really wants to, by the grace of God. And God will forgive him if he truly feels sorry for his sins. We die and rise every day with Christ. God gives us a new chance every day to follow Jesus. Every day is another chance, so how many more graces are we going to let slip by our hands? Faith, hope, and love will help. Prayer will definitely help. And the cross of Jesus will help too if you have true faith. Stop denying yourself and open yourself to God and He will make you truly free!

Disasters, tragedies and sufferings will continue to happen everyday but Christians do not abandon our faith, we grow stronger and persevere. We are warriors - militeschristi - soldiers of Christ.

I believe God has a plan for you too one day. You just need to admit to yourself that you need Him in your heart too. God is love. And I believe in miracles, we just don't know when and how they will occur but God works in mysterious ways.

May the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always,

a devout Catholic

P.S. it should be mea culpa and not "mea gulpa"

Subject: Who's the Burden Bitch?

Hey Faggot,

So now you have the opportunity to express who is the burden and who is the righteous (for those of you faggots out there who are too busy in sodomy to read the scripture righteous is those who believe God. They are ALWAYS in the minority and they ALWAYS win why because that's how God illustrates his sovereignty). So the belief of the Asses (Democrats) is that the Word of God is stale bread. Is that so? So the Asses are going to vote up for themselves a superior Law to God's Word. I don't doubt it. Actually the scripture tells us that people will reject Jesus for Beelzebub (the one who tells you that you can rewrite the Bible to say what you want and still be blessed). You Faggot, have done just that. And what's more you did it directly after the Saints extended a hand of friendship to you. Well aren't you wiser than Moses and Jesus. So I encourage you to mobilize your new Law of Beelzebub and try to make it the law of the United States. The feminists worship Artemis instead of Shekina, the faggots worship Beelzebub instead of Jesus, the Socialists worship Belial instead of Shekina, all of them will fail to be blessed AGAIN. It is the Saints who carry hedonists like yourself. I would sooner live in a smaller country than live in a country that says the Constitution is greater than the Bible. I'm sure you want it the other way around. How curious you also ride the ass of you partner. Man was made in Gods image and the way you have sex its easier to do if you don't see your partners face. Likewise its easier for you to be comfortable (you believe) if you cannot see God's face. I am not the one who doesn't want you to live in a country where "In God we Trust" is not on the money. I am not the one who doesn't want you to live in a country where Beelzebub is God. I'm not the one who wants you to live in a country where the lowest common denominator is the highest priority. I want you to live in a place like that were people "Do as thou wilst!" I just don't want the burden that comes along with living in a place like that. If you want to stick your penis in a place that rots then do it, just don't ask me to live in a place where we call it "Good," because its not. I've been patient with you and you decided to slap me for it. I would rather see the blood of my brother (people who do believe in the Word) spilled on the ground than call a curse a blessing to children. I will not condemn a child with lawlessness and call it good the way that you do. So I hope you do pass your amoral laws for your own selfish ends. And I will take that information back to the righteous and ask them to shed the burden of the Socialists through war. Knowing full well that I know how Beelzebub is under the feet of the Christ and you do not as your people attack the Lords people Beelzebub will claim your lives for himself. And he will laugh at you in your damnation.


Subject: Jesus Can Cure You


I read your rant against Ted Haggard. Let me be the first to tell you that Jesus can set you free from your sinful sexual behavior. I don't know what it is specifically, and don't need to know the specifics, but Jesus can set you free. Jesus can set Ted Haggard free as well. Haggard's mistake was hiding in shame, instead of bringing the struggle to the light, so that the Body of Christ could minister to him. There is hope and healing in Jesus.

I am involved in a ministry called Living Waters; a program of Desert Stream. It's a ministry to those who struggle with sexual sin (including homosexual sin) and relational problems. You might have heard of it, seeing that you are vehemently opposed to such ministries. We would welcome you to come seeking healing. I know several people who used to be "in the lifestyle", but are finding true joy in life without subjecting themselves to additional degradation. It isn't easy to walk out of something you have practiced for decades; but it is possible. All things are possible with God.

In Christ's Love, Tom

RSS icon Comments


First and third letters too sincere for me to read more than a paragraph... Second letter is a glimpse of what Daniel Freykis would say if he were literate.

Posted by Matt from Denver | November 27, 2006 1:56 PM

I get a little thrill out of the idea of being "in the lifestyle"… it sounds real swingin’, like I’m part of a sexy and sophisticated danger club or something.

Tonight, I will not be shopping for groceries. I’ll be “in the lifestyle” and shopping for groceries. I wonder how that’ll affect what I buy.

Posted by private cancer | November 27, 2006 2:18 PM

Uhg, this is the crap I grew up with and still get slipped every now and then. And my mom wonders why I live so far away and don't call that often.

Posted by monkey | November 27, 2006 2:20 PM

The best part of the first letter was that she referenced not just the Bible but also Mel Gibson.

And I consider myself both a feminist and a socialist, but I have no idea who Artemis or Belial are -- or for that matter, Shekina. Help, please?

Posted by Joey in SF (soon to be NYC) | November 27, 2006 2:22 PM

Yup, it's the goddamn feminists worshipping Artemis instead of Shekina that have fucked everything up for normal, Jesus-loving, faggot-hating people everywhere. Fuck you, Artemis! You go, Shekina! Rah, rah, rah! Let's kick some fucking ASS!

Posted by Fnarf | November 27, 2006 2:28 PM

so wait, his punishment is to spend the next 3-5 years at camp with a bunch of other fags?


Posted by me again | November 27, 2006 2:29 PM

Hatred knows many forms, none more ironic than the guise of Jesus.

Posted by Colin | November 27, 2006 2:43 PM

I don't know exactly private, but I think it would be a sin to stop too long at the cucumbers. Keep moving.

Posted by Dave Coffman | November 27, 2006 2:48 PM

What's that bumper sticker again? Oh, yeah...

"Jesus, protect me from your followers".

Posted by SDA in SEA | November 27, 2006 2:51 PM

Jesus is coming.
Everybody look busy!

Posted by monkey | November 27, 2006 2:55 PM

Wasn't Artemis the twin sister of Apollo? She was a hunter I Greek mythology is fuzzy.

Posted by kate | November 27, 2006 3:02 PM

Jesus also said:
Luke 12:49-53 "I am come to send fire on the earth; … Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."

Luke 14:26 "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

Very nice.

Artemis was Apollo's twin sister, Belial is a high-ranking demon in hell, and Shekinah is the "female god" principle in esoteric judaism.

Posted by toby | November 27, 2006 3:10 PM

my favorite bumper sticker currently is "Born Right the First Time".... heh heh

Posted by randy dorknob | November 27, 2006 3:10 PM


Ted Haggard has no need to work, so a pay check or salary is not an issue.

Once a person has $5 M to $10 M, work becomes totally optional, especially if they have a decent financial advisor and accountant. You can bet he fleeced his glassy eyed supplicants for that amount if not millions more, so I wouldn’t worry about Ted’s wife or kids (at least financially).

Posted by Andrew | November 27, 2006 3:35 PM

From letter one:

The God of Christianity is not like the Buddha where worshippers pay for some incense, pray to win the lottery and then wait for some miracle to happen.

Huh? Well that made Buddhism come clear to me. All that ancient Indian elightened guy wanted was for his followers to win the lottery. Of course.

Posted by chickiepoo | November 27, 2006 3:52 PM

I don't think we get to ask how Ted is making a living or what his therapy looks like. He's not Jack Abramhov. If he's pushing papers at some Christian ministry in Colorado Springs, or living off severance pay, or off investments, it makes absolutely no difference. He's a public figure, yes; but he's employed in the private sector.

Posted by Anne | November 27, 2006 4:05 PM

Ted Haggard's going to commit suicide in approximately August 2008.

Posted by Fnarf | November 27, 2006 4:16 PM

I think the first letter is right. I think God has a plan for you, Dan: keep sucking dicks and educating people what is good and safe when it comes to relationships and sex. Hopefully, he has a plan for you to become a guru and found the first Gay church.
What about writing a Bible reinterpretation in favor of gay love over and above hetero love? I think that could be done, at least when it comes to male gay love. I'm sure you could get a lot of money out of it. Fags have spiritual needs too.

Posted by Mokawi | November 27, 2006 4:44 PM

A certain contradiction in that first letter really strikes me, because it's one I see at the heart of so much religious thinking. Eve has to straddle such a fine line in order to argue that God would've cured Haggard if Haggard had genuinely sought a cure, while also preserving God's omnipotence by rejecting the idea that "we ... earn[] our salvation," by pointing out that miracles are rare, and by allowing that "Disasters, tragedies and sufferings will continue to happen everyday." She's coming up against a fundamental problem, here: one of the main roles religion plays is to give life meaning and order, but if a particular god-concept seems to give life too much meaning and order, it won't be convincing any more, because people do notice life's tendency toward unfairness and chaos. And as the lives of other people become more accessible to us through modern media, we see ever more of that chaos, and ever more vividly; back when Catholic theology was being developed, people couldn't flip channels between the genocide in Darfur and some receiver praying in the endzone because God helped him score a touchdown, thereby witnessing the way life's resistance to meaning, order, and fairness tends to render ridiculous any assertion to the contrary.

So why is God willing to grant touchdowns to receivers but unwilling to grant heterosexual monogamy to Ted Haggard (or safety/life to Sudanese)? Eve's letter suggests several possible explanations: Haggard didn't really put his heart into his request for God's help, instead resting complacently on the laurels of his faith and choosing himself over God. She says, "he can rise again if he really wants to, by the grace of God. And God will forgive him if he truly feels sorry for his sins." In this account, the power is in Haggard's hands, and he has no one to blame but himself if he chooses not to exercise it. But Eve's letter reflects a second alternative: God works in mysterious ways, so that we "can never fully comprehend or fathom" the plan he has for us.

These two explanations for God's apparent selective help-giving have really different thrusts: the first seeks to empower Christians by making it seem that anything is within their grasp if only they are truly good enough, while the second seeks to empower God by protecting him from becoming some sort of divine vending machine, where all you have to do is put in your $.75 of faith/works and, yes, you will get whatever help you've asked for.

Eve would probably rather the "mysterious ways" explanation be used for God's not helping the Sudanese, rather than the "ungenuineness" one -- it's nicer to think of the deaths of 200,000 people as fitting into some incomprehensible but essential providential order than it is to think of God refusing to help a Sudanese woman when she desperately prays not to be gang-raped and murdered because her prayer is selfish or ungenuine. But is there any real reason that we can't flip the order? Who's to say that the stunning revelation of Haggard's hipocrisy doesn't fit into God's providential plan, while the genocide in Sudan is due to the selfish "me-ism" of the Sudanese? The latter idea would strike many modern religious folks as repugnant -- and I'm glad of that -- but not so long ago, it wasn't at all uncommon to think of God as righteously striking down the undeserving racial/religious other. It's a trait of today's kinder, gentler religious impulse to assign the "mysterious ways" explanation as widely as people now do; nevertheless, the frequency with which that explanation is strategically withheld indicates how far we have to do before religion is truly gentled.

Catholicism does have an ancient tradition of wrestling deeply and richly (though not successfully, to heathen eyes) with the contradictions that theology inevitably raises. But Eve doesn't see the way her own reason undercuts itself, the way her efforts to have an empowered (but still likeable) God and an empowered humanity work against one another. She's selling short that Catholic intellectual tradition.

I'd love to see religious discourse rise beyond platitudes and inescapable catch-22s to recognize and engage with contradictions like this one. I mean, come on: saying that Ted Haggard's inability to keep his hands off the lads proves that his prayers to God for help were ungenuine is as circular as saying a woman's failure to sink proves she's a witch. His prayers weren't answered because they weren't geninue. And how do we know they weren't genuine? Because they weren't answered! Despite what Eve says, trapping someone in that kind of double-bind is anything but compassionate.

Not that compassion is necessarily my top priority in Haggard's case. One does love to see a sower of wind reap the whirlwind every now and then.

Posted by A in NC | November 27, 2006 4:48 PM

Not to worry about "poor" Ted; he's published about 20 books, including "The Jerusalem Diet: The "One Day" Approach to Reach Your Ideal Weight--and Stay There" (a spiritual gem, I'm sure!) He, the wife and the kids should be find, financially, for quite a while. Emotionally? Well, that's another matter....

Posted by rodgerdodger | November 27, 2006 4:59 PM

A in NC,

Excellent analysis, though the answer is strikingly simple:

Religious fundamentalists are caught in what psychiatrists call a “self-reinforcing delusion.” The more you try to reason or argue with facts, the more it confirms their own logical impasse.

It’s terrible for them and us: They’ve discovered the recipe for everlasting misery.

Posted by Andrew | November 27, 2006 5:11 PM

I'm a little old lady in Texas and I don't know much about homosexuality, but why would I? What possible difference could it make to ME if a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman? How in the world would that affect MY life? Too many people are so busy butting into other people's business (no pun intended) when they should be minding their own lives.

What an uproar over such a meaningless thing. What matters is that people LOVE each other and are happy. Some folks just can't stand that as they're so sour themselves.

Posted by MerryMarjie | November 27, 2006 5:25 PM

MerryMarjie--you're my hero.

Posted by Kay | November 27, 2006 7:51 PM

Artemis was Jim West's sidekick played by Ross Martin opposite Robert Conrad on T.V. and by Kevin Kline opposite Will Smith in the 1999 movie.

I hope that clears that up.

Posted by Big Gay Ted | November 27, 2006 7:58 PM

A question for you Christian literalists out there: the Bible tells us that God is male and that man was created in God's image. This must mean that God has a penis (unless God is a vast celestial eunuch). Tell us please:

What is God's penis for?

The whole Pastor Ted saga shows that God at least has a wicked sense of humour.

Posted by John C | November 27, 2006 7:59 PM

John C, I'm scandalized by the lewd implications of your question. God's penis is for peeing out of and absolutely nothing else ... got it?

Posted by A in NC | November 27, 2006 8:16 PM

John: obviously, god's penis was originally for the Big Bang.

Now, I suspect he uses it to keep himself amused while we screw up his perfect creation...

Posted by Tahn | November 27, 2006 8:36 PM

I suppose the point about Artemis is that we women are worshipping pagan ideals rather than Judeo-Christian ones, but you'd think this Eve character would pick a better pagan goddess. I mean, Artemis is associated with chastity and virginity...why not Aphrodite (sex!), Athena (wisdom-- certainly don't need that), or even Hera (sheer bitchiness)?

lol @ 27, btw.

Posted by Megan | November 27, 2006 11:12 PM

...Wow. I swear we're not all stupid like that. There are those among us who do get that the religion has weird contradictions, but the point is that our faith is based on not being a bitch (nearly everything Jesus says in the Gospels boils down to: Don't be a bitch, and treat others the way you want to be treated).

At any rate, being an apparently twisted Lutheran homo myself, the first letter informing us that my man Luther jacked everything up rather irritates my sensibilities, but I shall attempt to be nice.


Posted by Ivy | November 27, 2006 11:16 PM

First of all,let me say that I'm a Lutheran pastor. Hi Ivy. Second, our sexuality is a gift from God. All of us, gay, straight, etc. are who we are by the grace of God. If someone has a problem with that, they need to take it up with God.
Anyway, A in NC, you are asking the right quesitons and making the right point. I ask some of the same questions, and still don't have an answer. What catches my attention with so many of the religious fundamentalists, whether they are Catholic, Protestant, Evanelical, is how often they blame the "insincereity" of the individual if things don't go the way they think they should. What a picky God they have..."Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you...if you are sincere enough." I don't think that is what the Bible says.
BTW, John C. God is not male. God created "man and woman" in his image...

Posted by Scot | November 28, 2006 6:07 AM

There's a cut-off age for Speedos. It was ten years ago.

Posted by Nada | November 28, 2006 7:36 AM


If God is not male why did you use the pronoun created man and woman in "HIS" image? Why not HER or ITS?

Posted by anon-no-more | November 28, 2006 8:02 AM

You all speaketh so much shit!

Posted by Robert | November 28, 2006 8:09 AM

"nearly everything Jesus says in the gospels boils down to: Don't be a bitch..."

This is false. Hardly anything at all Jesus says in any of the gospels is to do with not being a bitch, or loving one's neighbour.

Jesus was a first-century Jewish male as were his followers and the gospel writers. Very little of what Jesus is reported as saying can with any degree of certainty be attributed to Jesus. Compare for example, the scene in the garden of Gethsemene and the court scenes - the narrators of those scenes are explicitly not present when Jesus is speaking.

A quick look through any gospel will show you that Jesus talks endlessly about the imminent arrival of "the Kingdom of God" and his own status as "Son". The gospel writers, part of a persecuted sect, are of course quite interested in the end of the world (eschatology) and so are the persecuted audience they write for. He does not give many ethical instructions at all, and when he does, they reflect the concerns of a first-century sect being persecuted from their own side, from whom they have split, and from the occupying Roman powers. Marriage, dietary laws, rendering to Ceasar what is Ceasar's and so on are what a first-century Jewish audience are interested in, not loving each other and all their fellow men.

Theology eh? Interesting stuff if you can be bothered spending 3 years doing a degree in it.

Posted by Theologian | November 28, 2006 8:34 AM

First-century Jews? Tough, demanding crowd. They really made you work for your shekels...

Posted by some deaths take forever | November 28, 2006 9:08 AM

Life at the end of the empire. Such fun.

Posted by jeff | November 28, 2006 9:57 AM

Yes a tough crowd, but there are liberal doses of dramatic irony for them.

The disciples, in particular their leader Peter, are consistently portrayed as dim, misunderstanding the person of Jesus, the meaning of miracles etc.

But yeah, I guess you had to be there really.

Posted by Theologian | November 28, 2006 10:34 AM

This, from Eve's letter, really struck me: "God knows what is best for us and sometimes we don't always get what we pray for because what we really want may not be good for us but God will only gives us what is best for us."

I came to that same conclusion after spending years trying to pray away the gay. I even did a Novena to St. Jude, Patron of Lost Causes, having written down the prayer on a small piece of paper that I carried around in my wallet for nine days. Nine times per day for nine days I prayed for a cure; for added insurance I used tick marks to ensure that I didn't miss a single prayer. On the tenth day I woke up to a new day--still gay. For four more years I strived to become straight, and even attempted to join the Catholic version of Ex-Gaydome. At that same point in my life I came upon a resource for coming out, an option that I didn't think would ever be mine. Unable to discern the right path I prayed one night to the point of tears, begging God to please send me in the right direction. Call it prayers answered or coincidence, but the priest suddenly ceased returning any of my phone calls, while the director of the coming out resource ramped up his support of me throughout that entire coming out experience (which happened to be the name of the workshop!). Ten years later, I am still a person of faith of the God that knows what is best for me, and my partner and I will soon be celebrating our tenth anniversary. I can't imagine what today's life would be like had I gone the other way.

Posted by Michael | November 28, 2006 3:36 PM

Jesus is cumming ! And his dick is as big as his daddy's ! Damn, how am I gonna be able to sit on those hard pews at church next Sunday ?!?!

Posted by WBW | November 29, 2006 11:12 AM

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