Response to the “Deathly Ill” Letter #3: Invitation

The so-called Deathly Ill letter is partly a theological treatise, but primarily, it’s an invitation.  The key phrase is halfway through:

We invite like-minded pastors and elders to a gathering on August 25-27 in Minneapolis to explore joining this movement and help shape its character.

I like the idea of an invitation. I like it, because it calls to mind the ministry of Jesus. But how is this invitation different from Jesus’ invitation? Continue reading Response to the “Deathly Ill” Letter #3: Invitation

Response to the “Deathly Ill” Letter #2: Why it won’t work

You seem to think that you can actually separate the church – that you can divide the good old-fashioned Bible-believing family-values anti-gay Christians from the homosexual heretics and those who support them . Just cleanly pull the two groups apart, like tearing along the perforation.

This makes me smile to myself.

Because it won’t work. Continue reading Response to the “Deathly Ill” Letter #2: Why it won’t work

Fulfilling the law

Last Sunday’s sermon text was Matthew 5:17-20.

Here’s an exercise for you: read the whole rest of the Sermon on the Mount, and then fill in the blank with the word you think Jesus is most likely to have used here: “I have not come to abolish the law, but to _________ it.”

Affirm? Maintain? Strengthen? Proclaim? Restore? Obey?

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished….”

If you think about it, “fulfill” is a really strange word to use when talking about the law. You can talk about fulfilling a promise, or fulfilling a prophecy, or even fulfilling a requirement or an obligation. But what would it even mean to fulfill a law?
Continue reading Fulfilling the law

Response to the “Deathly Ill” Letter (#1)

For the past few months I’ve been meaning to respond to a letter that’s been circulating in the Presbyterian Church (USA), nicknamed the “deathly ill” letter (from a phrase it its first paragraph). This will probably be the first of two or three posts.

For background, I’d suggest you read the letter itself, here:

I’ll address this post as though to the letter’s authors. Continue reading Response to the “Deathly Ill” Letter (#1)


I’m Jonathan, and this is my little house on the Internet. Come on in and make yourself comfortable.

First blog posts are a sort of genre of their own — a dreadfully dull genre, I’m afraid — wherein I introduce myself and state all of my plans and goals for the blog, before I (a) utterly neglect the blog, or (b) take it in a completely different direction.

If you’re reading this, I assume you probably already know me in real life; I’m not sure why else you would be here. But in case you don’t, here’s what you’ll need to know to make sense of this: I’m a Christian (Presbyterian, to be specific, and PC(USA) to be even more specific), and I’m gay.

Oh, and I was on Jeopardy! once. But that was a long time ago. Continue reading Introduction