Please sign my petition.

I am passionately Christian. If you’re as conservative and Christian and heterosexual as can be, please read this. And, if you’re as liberal and atheist and gay as can be, please read this. This is something everyone should know and something we really should all agree on.

There are these things called “gay camps.” It’s like “fat camps” for gay children, except they don’t work. And they lead to emotional and psychological trauma and in cases have led children to take their own lives.

No matter what you think about the issue of homosexuality, I think we can reasonably assume you don’t want gays dead (unless you’re Westboro) or emotionally traumatized. Christians, we mustn’t, in our vigor for righteousness, forsake the wellbeing of the individual. Reparative therapy (attempts to forcibly change another’s sexual orientation) has been widely condemned in the sociological/psychological community, and (more importantly, in my opinion) is inconsistent with the character of God and the message of Christ.

Most Christians think homosexuality is wrong because it is detrimental to the individual. I agree. However, I think any number of other sins, many of which I personally struggle with, are also detrimental to the individual. But, nobody wants to send me to any camps where they plug me up to electricity or pump me with drugs to change my behavior. Why should I do it to them? Aside from being ineffective, reparative therapy is undeniably unethical.

How did Jesus treat humanity, lost in sin? With love. And love is what prevailed. Even when you’re right, you have to be right in love (“speak the truth in love”). Christians, we should not be caught dead supporting anything that treats other individuals like second-class human being. We should stand up and advocate for those who are being oppressed, as Christ does for us.

There are people, I believe, who are naturally more inclined to be tempted by homosexuality. There are people that are born without a sexuality, I believe. We must accept that everyone is not like us. Paul never married. Jesus never married. Were they homosexual? No. Were they heterosexual? No.

Simply because someone is not heterosexual like you does not mean they need to be sent to a camp and physically and/or psychologically tortured. What if they’re neither? What if they’re just themselves? Can we accept that?

Whatever your views on homosexuality, we really should find common ground in this: forced reparative therapy does not work and does harm, not good. God, when helping us, does not work how we think he would. He does not begin where we think he would. Thusly, we must turn the individuals over to God and trust him to make them whole in his own way and in his own timing. How do we bring them to God and wholeness? Love. Forced reparative therapy is not love. If there is any love in it, it is strongly misguided. Let’s take a stand against it and show the gay community that we do in fact love them.

Below is a petition I hope you’ll consider signing to protect minors from zealous parents who would like to forcibly subject their children to reparative therapy.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/formally-denounce-reparative-homosexual-therapy-and-force-medical-licensing-agencies-deem-it/Gwwcj8NV

Thank you for reading. Please pass this along.

-Gregory Tanis

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THE LAW

Romans 10:4

‘Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.’

Maybe this is all very basic, but it’s exciting to me. To the best of my understanding, Romans 10 releases Christians to do exactly what they were doing before. Before the Law was replaced by Christ, those who followed God were obligated to do his will by following his express commands. After Christ became the fulfillment of the Law, everything changed. God created an atmosphere which, to this Arminian, appears to be centered around choice.

God’s will did not change. The only thing that changed was how we go about accomplishing it. Before Christ, it was very systematic. There were rules, given by rulers and prophets; and if you wanted to be close to God, you followed them. Post-resurrection Christians have a slightly different dynamic. For us, if we want to be close to God, we find out his desires (what he wants us to do and not to do- i.e. “rules” or “the Law”). He wants more of a back-and-forth, more intimacy involved. I believe this deepens the relationship; when we choose him and find out his will, it makes the Law our own.

For the politicians, I’ll put it this way: God wants a Libertarian system instead of a Fascist one. (This in no way makes God a Libertarian. This is simply to illustrate a point. Even though he might possibly be a Libertarian. Just kidding. But really.) God wants us all to choose him and find out on our own that we want to do what is right. He doesn’t want to have to force us. He wants us to carry our weight. He wants us connected to his Spirit.

For the artists, I’ll put it this way: God wants you to paint on a blank canvas, not a coloring book. God doesn’t want you to paint by numbers, die, and turn in your painting, saying, “Look, God, I did everything according to the book, just like you asked.” Surely, we should follow God’s Word, but I’m talking about the attitude here. God wants us to start with a blank canvas and yet be so connected to him that we paint exactly what he wants us to paint. He wants the relationship, the pursuit. He desires love, not simply sacrifice. This happens through his Holy Spirit.

The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to teach our spirits how to be like God’s. Notice that the Holy Spirit was given after Jesus resurrected and fulfilled the Law. This is because the Holy Spirit did not belong under the Old Covenant. Essentially, the Holy Spirit replaces the Law, yet is the Law exactly. It’s a bit of an abstract point that I’ve been trying to grasp for years. Let me now interject a disclaimer: I say what I say with the best heart; yet I may be wrong in areas. It’s a nuanced concept, I believe, and I’m sure I don’t understand it in its entirety.

For the parents, I’ll put it this way: the point of parenting is so that your children adopt your rules. Parenting is futile if it simply establishes rules that the child must follow, but never encourages them to adopt the rules as their own. I believe Christ fulfilling the Law was God’s way of pushing us out of the spiritual nest. He is saying, “Go. Figure me out.” He’s done revealing himself on a mass scale, through prophets, to whole nations. That is what the Holy Spirit is for, and he does it on an individual basis.

The Law can give us glimpses of God’s expectations and character, but it cannot reveal fully to the reader what God has for that specific person. In Romans 10:5-8, Paul explains how followers of God used to listen to the prophets to hear God’s Law, but now, ‘“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and heart.”’

The words God has to tell to his children are personalized. Reading the Law without the guidance of the Holy Spirit- even following the Law without truly desiring it- is simply painting by numbers. Simply being a member of a Fascist regime. Simply being a well-behaved child with a rebellious heart. God wants you to desire him, to learn from him, not simply to follow the Law. If the Law did not exist, those who truly know God would not be acting any differently. That is the Law fulfilled through Christ.

Justice vs. Judgement (connotatively)

God is Judge. The final, ultimate judge that administers justice. Why should this be a scary concept? Do we not want justice? Is that not what we desire? Surely, justice will be uncomfortable for some and in some areas, but we should eagerly long for judgement because judgement, from a merciful God, is justice.

We must not equate God as Judge to our American understanding of “justice.” We must not view God as a judge in our court systems, which can only universally apply the law, whether just or not. God is the arbitrator who can see all and know what the best outcome is. God uses justice to solve problems. Worldly judges can only make a person pay for their actions. Seek justice, not only judgement, for justice heals.