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PASSAGE 2 GENESIS 19:1-14
Now let’s consider the second biblical text used by some people to condemn God’s gay children. You remember the ancient story of Sodom. First, what does the story of Sodom in Genesis 19 say about God?
When Gary and I arrive at a college or university to speak, there are often protesters carrying signs that read, “Mel White, Sodomite.” (Has a nice ring to it.) Actually, I’m not from Sodom. That city was buried beneath the Dead Sea centuries ago. I’m from California—but perhaps that just confirms their suspicions!
Once again, this story is not primarily about sex. It is primarily about God. Some people say the city of Sodom was destroyed because it was overrun by sexually obsessed homosexuals. In fact, the city of Sodom had been doomed to destruction long before. So what is this passage really about? Jesus and five Old Testament prophets all speak of the sins that led to the destruction of Sodom—and not one of them mentions homosexuality. Even Billy Graham doesn’t mention homosexuality when he preaches on Sodom.
Listen to what Ezekiel 16:48–49 tell us: “This is the sin of Sodom; she and her suburbs had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not help or encourage the poor and needy. They were arrogant and this was abominable in God’s eyes. Today, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike do well to remember
that we break God’s heart when we spend all we earn on ourselves, when we forget the poor and hungry, when we refuse to do justice or show mercy, when we leave strangers at the gate.
I admit, there are a lot of gay folk who are Sodomites (and a lot of straight folk as well). Sodomites are rich and don’t share what they have with the poor. Sodomites have plenty and want more. While millions are hungry, homeless, and sick, Sodomites rush to build bigger homes, buy bigger cars, and own more property—
putting their trust is safer stock portfolios and more secure retirement accounts.
Whatever teaching about sexuality you might get out of this passage, be sure to hear this central, primary truth about God as well. God has called us do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our Creator. Sodom was destroyed because its people didn’t take God seriously about caring for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, or the outcast. But what does the story of Sodom say about homosexual orientation as we understand it today? Nothing. It was common for soldiers, thieves, and bullies to rape a fallen enemy, asserting their victory by dehumanizing and demeaning the vanquished. This act of raping an enemy is about power and revenge, not about homosexuality or homosexual orientation. And it is still happening. In August 1997, Abner Louima, a young black immigrant from Haiti, was assaulted by several police officers after he was arrested in Brooklyn. Officer Charles Schwarz held Louima down in a restroom at the precinct, while Officer Justin Volpe rammed a broken stick into Louima’s rectum. These two men and the three other officers involved in this incident and its cover-up were not gay. This was not a homosexual act. It was about power.
The sexual act that occurs in the story of Sodom is a gang rape—and homosexuals oppose gang rape as much as anyone. That’s why I believe the story of Sodom says a lot about God’s will for each of us, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.
Joseph John Campbell
“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
Step four is an action Step. This Step grates on the alcoholic nature. We begin the process of reversing many of the survival behaviors necessary to sustain an active alcoholic/addict. We do no enjoy these self-destructive behaviors, but we have become accustomed to using them.
Made…This Step demands positive action. It is not accomplished all at once, but gradually. There are two theories about taking this step:
1. Don’t take it until you are absolutely ready.
2. Take it right away.
Possibly the combination of these two ideas holds more value. Ease into it, remember to be gentle on yourself.
Searching and fearless means being as honest as you can be at the moment. We are used to rationalizing, so sincerity is mandatory.
In doing a moral inventory we want to take advantage of our assets in order to work on our liabilities. Our behavior indicates attitudes and personalities, but don’t get stuck in details. Try to see through the phony behavior.
This is not an examination of conscience. We are not only looking for sins and evil deeds we might have done in the past. We are looking for personality traits and conflicts that cause us distress.
Inventory is from a Latin word that means to find. We are looking for character defects and shortcomings that cause us problems.
We are all endowed by nature with certain wonderful and powerful instincts; otherwise, we would not have survived. Our problem is that in our disease we have exercised some of these instincts to the extreme, and it has become a way of life that we now see as destructive. The Steps address these misdirected instincts.
Step Four is a vigorous and painstaking effort to discover what these liabilities in each of us have been and are now. By discovering what our emotional conflicts are, we can move toward their correction. We cannot do this without taking a good look at ourselves.
The alcoholic cannot live with discomfort for great periods of time without eventually seeking relief in alcohol.
There are many ways to take Step four. Do it in whatever way appeals to you. Make sure it is written down, however. You must believe no one will ever read it-not even when you do the Fifth Step. It is the only way we can be completely honest with ourselves.
The Little Red Book Study Guide©1998 by Hazelden Foundation
COLUMBUS AND OTHER CANNIBALS has been a well-received book for many years, and now in a new revised edition it may have a greater chance to become a major influence on current thought and action. The new (2008) edition has two new chapters which take unique looks at terrorism and an inspirational poem, “The Universe is Our Holy Book” expressing my interpretation of Native American philosophy.
CANNIBALS is focused upon my use of the Native American concept of the “Wetiko” psychosis, the disease of cannibalism. I believe that the exploitative consumption of the earth, the living creatures of the earth, and, above all, other human beings and their homelands, constitute actual, real, unmitigated cannibalism. Tragically, the cannibalism of which I write has become more and more an acceptable part of modern economic and personal exploitation, with those who do the consuming giving little or no thought to the diminishing or even elimination of the lives of those at the receiving end of their quest for profit and super-sustenance.
But CANNIBALS is not simply about the mental disease that has infected so many of the powerful on the earth. If that were the case, it would be a vital exposure of the evils of rabid consumption, but it would provide no answers or any antidote.
It has been my intention that CANNIBALS, instead of dwelling solely upon the evils of violence, aggression and one-sided economics, should offer insight into the ancient spiritual philosophies of Native Americans and contrast the core of Indigenous beliefs and actions with the “empire-building,” “getting bigger,” “more and more” notions which have come to dominate many churches, religions, nation-states, corporations, groups, and even individuals and their families.
I set forth the notion that our true religion is what we do, what we think, what we say, what we dream of, what we strive for, what we are, every single moment of every day. Thus one cannot say that one is born again, that one is saved, that one is guaranteed a spot in heaven, simply on the basis of formal adherence to a particular “faith.” On the contrary, I would argue that no membership or other form of sectarian approval may cause one to escape from one’s very own self and one’s actual deeds.
Thus all of us are responsible for the way we treat other living creatures and the Mother Earth. We cannot escape by hiding in huge temples or high-powered jet planes or tall office towers or in fancy yachts or swift sports cars, or even in cloistered monasteries. Wherever one is, one must be on a good path, a spiritually beautiful path, if one is to avoid being an exploiter or a beneficiary of aggression. This is not, however, a matter of dogma or adherence to a restrictive philosophy, but is simply a recipe for a good life where mistakes can and will be made, but can also be overcome by the discovery of a better path.
Tragically, this new century presents huge challenges for all of us on Mother Earth. CANNIBALS helps us to understand that not only can we not continue along our destructive paths but that the accumulation of Wetiko deeds has accelerated to the point where we face severe environmental and societal hazards such as to threaten the very fabric of life on this incredibly beautiful and loving planet. We are destroying our home with our grasping after wealth, power, advantage, and materialism. We seem willing to push selfishness (individual and national) to an obscene degree.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult for the ordinary person to have an impact upon the governments of aggressively self-centered countries (which list happens to include three or four of the largest on the planet). But it is only by changing our ways of thinking and doing, individually, and then collectively, that we can have any impact upon the huge organizations which seem immune to common sense and decency.
Jack D. Forbes, July 2008
We need, Roosevelt told a massive assembly of 30,000 listeners, to “destroy privilege.” Ruin for our democracy, he warned, will be “inevitable if our national life brings us nothing better than swollen fortunes for the few.”