November 4, 2018, 7:26 AM

"Torn" Session 8: Chapter 12

Torn Chapter 12


            In Chapter 12 Lee explores the biblical passages often associated with homosexuality as he tries to discern how God wants him to live.  This is one chapter you really need to read for yourself.  There is no way to adequately sum up Lee’s points in a short synopsis, but here are the passages Lee addresses:

            Sodom and Gibeah (found in Genesis 19 and Judges 19 respectively)- these stories are about rape.  They are about violence and power and domination.  Lee delves into the OT’s hospitality culture and how it connects to the sin of these two cities of people.  These mobs of people were attempting to violently attack outsiders.  Lee goes so far as to compare them to lynch mobs.  These stories are not about homosexuality.

            Leviticus 18:22- this passage in found in the midst of many prohibitions.  Some we still follow (like the prohibitions against incest, stealing, and child sacrifice) and some we don’t (like the prohibitions against wearing mixed fabrics, getting tattoos, and sexual activity during a woman’s period).  The question is knowing which is which, which Lee admits is often difficult and ambiguous.  Lee explores this texts links to temple prostitution and thereby idolatry.  The “abomination” listed in this verse has connections to the worship of other Gods.  Lee concludes this text is not conclusive.

            Romans 1- This passage describes people who had turned from God to worship idols instead.  God responds by “giving them over” to sexual immorality, which involves same sex acts.  Lee questions, “Was being gay a punishment for turning from God?”  He, however, does not see himself as turning from God.  He recognizes that he is not perfect, but he has tried to live a Christian life.  Next he questions if homosexuality is an effect of humanity’s fall in a larger sense.  But this doesn't seem to line up with the verses references to specific people.  Lee notes, again (as in Leviticus) the connection to idolatry making a link between this passage and the practice of same sex acts during cult worship.  Lee then points out Paul’s use of rhetoric.  In Romans 2, Paul tells his audience that they are no different than any he has just named, so by passing judgment, they judge themselves (one of Paul’s awesome mic-drop moments).  Lee is still left wondering what this means for him.

            1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (& 1 Timothy 1:10)- Here Lee explores Paul’s use of the Greek word arsenokoitai, which is a compound word made from the Greek words for “male” and “bed.”  The exact meaning of this word is unclear as the word is not used outside of these two passages.  It is used in the Greek translation of the Leviticus passage leading some scholars to speculate that Paul coined the term in reference to that passage.  If so, the word once again has links to idolatry and temple prostitution.  Other scholars think aresnokoitai is intended to be interpreted along with malakoi (translated ‘male prostitutes’ in the NIV and ‘effeminate’ in the KJV).  This suggests a reference to the Greek practice of pederasty.  Lee asks, “Was this passage a condemnation of corrupt same-sex practices in Paul’s day- either pederasty or idolatry? Or was it a condemnation of all gay sex for all time?”  He concludes that he can make a convincing argument for either side and thus is still left wondering what God wants for him.


This synopsis is full of quotes… and questions.  What are your thoughts?    


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