Revisiting Sodom and Gomorrah
It is late September, the weather is changing... and I just learned from Facebook that it is National Coffee Day. I decided to, obviously, join in on the festivities, as I'm currently enjoying my second cup. I have spent the morning doing some reading and relaxing, as it's Saturday and these legs need some rest after a busy week.
I have recently found myself pursuing my faith, stronger than I have in quite some time. It is one of those seasons where, it seems, everything that I do brings me into a complete circle back to my base, my center, my root- which has always been my devotion to my God. However, what that looks like now, versus a couple years ago, is dramatic in comparison. Not my God, per se, but the way in which my faith is worked out in my life, and the understanding I have of holy writings, the global church mindset, and organized religious settings.
Growing up, I didn't really "know" I was bisexual. There were moments I questioned myself, and moments I thought "huh, I wonder what this feeling is?" or "is this normal?", but never a blatant "yea, that's me." That being said, I did always have an aware mind when it came to talk of the LGBTQ community in church settings. I always felt a compassion for those who seemed to be condemned by merely loving those whom they were attracted to. Feeling the need to "turn in repentance from their wicked ways" because of their desire to love someone whom they felt they needed in their life. And when, in my early twenties, I finally came to the realization that I was in fact bisexual myself, my mind became ever more alert to such talk and condemnation.
Sodom and Gomorrah tends to be that story that every evangelical uses to defend their "Biblical view" on the LGBTQ community, and gay marriage. "God destroyed the earth because of gays!" they say. And, as an adolescent and young adult, that was truly what I believed, it was what I was taught, and it was well-known knowledge of a Biblical account. However, now that I am older, and I search the Bible for application and understanding- I found myself returning to a scripture that has now been thrown in my face by many "Christians" since coming out, myself.
In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities were judged by God, and ultimately destroyed by fire. Lot is visited by two angels disguised as men, and after an attempted gang rape of the angels (yes, of apparent homosexual nature) by men of the city, and after Lot then offers his two daughters to be gang raped instead (???), the angels blind the men attempting the rape and breaking down Lot's door, and tell Lot to escape with his family. He and his family won't leave, so the angels attempt to drag them out of the city to safety, they then negotiate a new place for him to live... and then God catches the city on fire with brimstone.
If you talk to many church-going folks, you'd hear that God was indeed punishing these cities for their ultimate sin of homosexuality. However, I find it funny that before we get to the fact of same-sex behavior in these verses.. we have to wade through an orgy, rape, and sex with divine beings. We don't even take a moment to acknowledge the fact that Lot then offered his daughters to the same demise. Yet, what do we take from this? "A gay, monogamous and loving couple shouldn't have a wedding cake because God destroyed a city for wanting to gang rape male angels."
I think it's funny how we interpret the Bible, in order to fit our own desires and lifestyles. This story never flat-out addresses the issue of same-sex relations... especially that of a committed, loving couple. AND- If you "turn" over to Ezekiel 16:49- the scripture is clear in stating...
"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."
So, now we learn that the cities were destroyed because of greed, arrogance, and gluttony. And it's easy to see how this could much more easily be applied to the lives of many more church going saints, yea? But, of course, the church for years has used this story to marginalize a people group, ostracizing them and pouring out judgement from a story that, could in many ways, be applied way more to the lives of the accusers than those being accused.
No matter the sin, I also think it's important to acknowledge that this story takes place in the Old Testament. A place where sin was the ultimate disconnect from God. However, this isn't the story of the Bible. The Bible is a story of grace and forgiveness. It is a story pursuing love by a God who wanted to have a more intimate relationship with man, and therefore sacrificed himself as the ultimate connector. Yet, here we are.... thousands of years later, still looking for the thorn in our neighbor's eye instead of our own. Looking to pass judgment, when we ourselves were given a free pass to the love of a perfect God.
I can't help but think of the "bride and bridegroom" analogy of the Bible, while I whistle the tune of Frank Sinatra's song "She's funny that way."