I grew up as a child of the church. My earliest memories of church are Presbyterian and Baptist. As an adolescent in a fundamentalist church I thought to myself, “Church doesn’t have to be this dowdy and old-fashioned.” In high school I felt called to what Baptists call “full-time Christian service.” At the time I said, “I don’t know what God wants me to do because I don’t know what the Church will need in the future.” I decided to go to a Bible college, believing that a good Bible education would help me in whatever I did.
When I graduated from Simpson College (C&MA) in 1977 I didn’t pursue ordination. I thought to myself, “If I am going to lead laypeople in their ministries, I need to know what it is like to minister as a layman.” Little did I know that God had both of these plans for me, full-time Christian service and ministering as a layperson.
Diane and I fellowshipped and ministered in the Christian and Missionary Alliance for about fifteen years. After a brief stopover in a community church we migrated to the United Methodist Church and have been members of two UMC churches.
My son Jonathan came out during high school. He had been president of the high school Bible Club, and was on the Praise Team at church. When he came out, evangelicals silenced him in both settings. He attempted suicide three times after coming out, but has recovered and is vigorously involved in local political campaigns.
After Jonathan came out, I became heavily involved in PFLAG and GLSEN, and co-produced the documentary, Holding Families Together, which you can view on four YouTube segments.
Segment One, Segment Two, Segment Three, Segment Four
Who is Ron Goetz?
- In high school they called me Reverend Ron.
- My pastor calls me a Member of the Loyal Opposition.
- My wife calls me Bad Boy.
- My grandkids call me Papa.
- In jail they called me Protester.
- In hospital waiting rooms they call me “Gotez” or “Goats.”
- On conservative websites they call me “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” and worse.
Who am I?
I’m just a guy trying to do my best with the hand God dealt me–just trying to live with the results of my past decisions and mistakes to make the best of the rest of my life. Like some sort of alchemist I’m trying to transmute regret into hope, and God is blessing those efforts.
For more, click on Some Autobiography. There are posts about experiences that had special meaning for me.
If you like the posts you’re reading, please become a subscriber. As a subscriber, you will receive an email automatically when I publish a new post.
How do I get to older posts? I had one on my browser that I wanted to go back and read, but it disappeared in a power outage! There is no “older posts” to click 😦
If you get in with http://www.biblethumpingliberal.com you should be able to read everything I’ve posted so far.
I just started the blog, so there are no archives to search yet. But there will be!
Cool, so when I write about you I’ll say you started the site in 2010?
So… hmm… interesting. What was it like being hooked-up with the Christian and Missionary Alliance? What are your overall thoughts about it? And what made you leave it?
Also, just my opinion: You probably should have pursued ordination, after all.
Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California USA
gregg at greggdeselms dot com
Sorry for the delay in replying, Gregg.
Simpson College (official college of the C&MA) was an excellent, broadening experience for me, but the C&MA and I never were a good fit. Theologically it worked, while I was still an evangelical, but then I got deeper into the Bible for myself.
I was a licensed minister in the C&MA back in the mid-eighties, serving at Chula Vista Alliance Church under Dr. WarrenThompson, a former D.S. In the congregations the people are as wonderful as people are in every congregation and outside the church. Overall, I’d have to say that evangelicalism is simplistic, and has little room for a fresh examination of the Bible.
Many years after I left the C&MA my son came out of the closet, I examined the Clobber Passages, and discovered how weak the standard anti-homosexual case really was. I began posting on the C&MA website forums, and endured an onslaught of fundamentalist ire for a very long time. I was eventually told by the mods to, well, I forget exactly how they put it, but a particular moderator in Colorado Springs let me know my participation was no longer welcome.
About ordination: That’s a long story, Gregg. Like they say, “It’s complicated.” The major factors that made ordination a bad dream: anti-institutional, intellectual, bipolar, etc. Never would have worked.
Blogging and writing are my ministry now, and at church helping out in the church nursery.
Pastoral ministry was a dream that died very, very hard. And it’s still very complicated.
I read your posts about the lesbians grinding and the abominations … Very good and VERY funny! I shared the lobster one on facebook … I’m always arguing a similar argument, but nobody listens to me … but I’m never funny about it! Thanks so much! I’m going to keep your site around … Blessings!
I’m glad you got a good chuckle out of it! I go back and forth between humor and being sooo, sooo serious.
First of all, your idea to have a blog page like this is great! I first saw it a few weeks ago and was surprised (almost shocked) to read the post about — two men sleeping in a bed —two women grinding together—. So timely, after May 21st, and sort of scary! Dare we make light of this without danger of eternal damnation?
As you might have guessed, I have a similar, and (possibly) more crazy, religious upbringing to the one you describe. I was raised in an Evangelical minister’s home in Pennsylvania (mostly). Dad was the pastor of small congregations of the God’s Missionary Church, a conservative Holiness / Wesleyan denomination. I nearly got thrown out of the church when I was 7 for playing with a hula hoop! That did it! I was condemned to live the rest of my life as a sinful, unrepentant Sodomite! (Queer!)
We grew up having first row seats to some of the most scary horror stories you might imagine!
Revival services went for ten days each spring and fall. The evangelists had long ago honed their skills at telling stories from personal experience, of sinners sitting in the pews of churches like ours. They usually didn’t confide what sins had been committed, skipping right to the dreadful end! Leaving church the sinful young couple (had to be male and female – coitus?) were heading down the road, lost control of the car, ran into an embankment, and went screaming into hell, to be forever tormented for their undisclosed sins!
Many other equally horrible stories were spewed from the mouths of these Godly Evangelists, night after night, resulting in a new crop of repentant sinners running front to the altar to beg forgiveness for their sinful ways – hula hoops or whatever toys or other items they had messed around with. Many would then go home, get rid of all their “heathen jewelry”, smash their TVs (Hellavisions), throw away their ungodly indecent clothes, have a good, old-fashioned, healthy book burning, and take up their cross and follow the church doctrine – to wherever!
Anyway, when I realized who I was, I knew I didn’t stand a chance in that group of fakes and liars!
You know, I sometimes forget that churches like yours really exist. I guess what we call “fundamentalist” here in California really can be different from what others experience. But I only attended the GARB church for three or four years. There was some hell-fire and brimstone though, that’s for sure.
I still live with the fallout of those years: a certain fundamentalist tone that enters my writing from time to time, a kind of prudishness, and an anger that is morphing into mourning, disappointment, and resignation–but never totally goes away.
Has there been any new information regarding the lesbian wedding performed by Jon Powers? (My personal prayers and blessing go out to everyone involved there.)
And as to the wider question raised by one of your respondents — why do we want to pursue the question of “marriage” at all, yes, I would have a couple (or more) comments. Basically they boil down to two arenas — the civil side and the religious side. On the civil side of course there is the plethora of legal issues that we are currently not privvy to — hospital visitation, inheritance rights, “spousal” inclusion on all manner of procedures such as partner’s financial actions, employee insurance, etc. And on the spiritual side, it is a matter of enjoying the same benefits that any hetero couple receives in having the formal and public blessing of their union bestowed by their chosen community of faith.
The fact that those two arenas are largely melded in most current church weddings is rather unfortunate in my opinion, since that tends to mask just what benefits come from which sources.
I haven’t found any fallout, although I assume he caused a bit of a stir in his Annual Conference.
Anti-homosexual Christian leaders bemoan “homosexual acceptance.” They specifically do not want homosexuals or homosexuality to be “acceptable.” The opposite of acceptance is rejection, right? They want us to reject homosexuality and, dare I say it, homosexuals as well. Some will quibble over that, but they want us to reject homosexuals as pastors, as bishops, as church members. They rejected my son as a singer on Sunday mornings and rejected him as president of his high school Bible club. They say they’re not against homosexuals, just homosexualty, but the way that gets translated into actions is that individual homosexuals are personally rejected as a matter of policy.
All that to respond to your desire that all couples have “the formal and public blessing of their union by their chosen community of faith.”
Formal and public blessing is precisely what they do not want to extend.
That is absurd. if you are against a sin and the person says the sin is ok, you can’t allow that person to be a bible leader. Its not the struggle with the sin, its the acceptance of it. If you reject a person committing adultery from being a Pastor and he says its ok, to commit adultery, does that make you a hater of the person? Or does it make you a person who says you can’t continue to commit adultery, say its ok, and at the same time be a pastor? you know the answer! your logic is absurd and you are deceived.
My reply is my current post.
Thank you for clarifying Leviticus for me! I feel like I can continue my renewed journey now.
I just wanted to say thank you for posting this site. I wish I had found it sooner as for some time I’ve been searching for a site which is so insightful on the topic of gays and Christianity.
My best friend died of an overdose this year and has struggled his whole life with being homosexual. The church had much to do with his self loathing and in trying to be a proper Christian he even married and had children. All to no avail he “fell back into the lifestyle” of his true self and, I believe, beat himself up over being himself. I dont know if he ever was able to truly love. And living a lie, I believe, made him learn to lie about other things to the point you never knew what was and wasn’t truth. I miss him greatly, but I know that him is in GOD’s care now and his suffering is over. With the exception of a few years in high school, he never got to be himself.
I am sharing your site and your videos about your experience with your son to as many friends and family as possible. Again, thank you for this blog and I hope that my 4 cousins, who are all involved in the ministry, will read this and be able to better aid their congregations in learning how to love ALL of god’s children.
Thanks so much,
I’m sorry to hear about your friend, John. Life is very complicated, and we all go through seasons of confusion, when we compromise and stumble. But God has seen tens of billions of us stumble, fall, and sometimes do outrageous things (as we see in the Bible). He knows we are but dust, and loves us dearly–because of it.
I hope what I post here helps your cousins minister more effectively in the way you hope. Thanks for pitching in and helping, John.
Hi Ron. I apologize for the post like this but this is the only way I could find to contact you as Facebook is being a pain. Anyway, Mike Morrell and I really appreciate your blog, and think you’d be an excellent candidate for our Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like: http://thespeakeasy.info
You’re not on any contact lists, I promise; if you don’t respond, that’s it, and the invitation is open as long as you’re actively blogging. Hope you join us!
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Changes do come about in the UMC. When I first believed God wanted me to pastor a church the Methodist Church would not even consider my request. Women pastors now abound in the UMC. Change accepted by the masses takes years.
Yes, large-scale institutional change takes a lot of time. So many different things need to change: people, theology, rules, habits–very complicated–requires a lot of patience.
You are a blind guide – you do not understand the Scriptures, and you are leading others into error. If you did understand, you would already know these verses. We are all sinners – and without repentance and forgiveness, we will all be judged.
1 Corinthians 6:9-13, 15-20 KJV – [reply edited to eliminate block quote of scripture; you can look it up.]
I’ve been called worse, Thom. God bless you in your ministry. May God open the eyes of your heart as you seek Him, as you read the scriptures, and as you seek to walk in love. I am confident that the work God has begun in you He will see through to the end. We have a good God.
thank you, my brother, you model amazing grace, and i am drawn to that. i admit, i see a few things differently than you. i serve as a co-pastor with a woman who feels free to perform gay weddings, i do not. our faith community has folks on both sides (“my” side a smaller probably) but we have committed to hang together, and let christ’s love bind us together in perfect unity.
it has not been easy, but we are trying. God bless you, I mean that…
Hi Ron. Let me tell you about human culture change and religion. This is something I learned from my professors way back in my days as an anthropology/archaeology student. Human culture consists of three great areas: Technology, Social Structure, and Ideology. Everything human beings do on this Earth fall into these three categories. How do they change? Technology changes the most rapidly. Social structure and relationships change more slowly. Changes in ideology occur so slowly that a snail could outrace them.
When the great prehistoric city of Cahokia was abandoned around 1400 A.D., a lot of technology was abandoned with it and so was the social organization. The occupants of the city left behind the artistic elements and motifs of their mysterious religion on the artifacts in the ground. For 600 years, it was a seemingly lost religion and no one knew what the symbols of the religion meant. Then—then, some anthropologists had an idea. The ancestors of the historic-era tribes like the plains Sioux might have been the residents of Cahokia. So they started looking closely at the ethnographic records on the historic-era tribes that lived within a several hundred mile radius of Cahokia—particularly their stories, myths, and legends that were passed down orally from one generation to the next and later written down by visiting cultural anthropologists. Lo and behold, although some limited change had occurred locally over the centuries, the artistic elements and motifs at Cahokia started making sense and the ancient religion and what it was a bout began to be pieced together. The piecing together is still going on and great strides have been made in understanding it. This could not have occurred if religion did not change slower than a snail’s pace. If it had changed rapidly, the critical oral stories and legends would have died out quickly when Cahokia was abandoned.
I guess my point for you is that changes in the church will occur slowly and with quite a bit of anger, resentment, and rancor. This is pretty much to be expected as an anthropologically well- understood phenomenon. Therefore, do not be discouraged with the pace of change or feel that your efforts are in vain. They are not. It just takes time. The important thing for you to do, especially if you are old and aging, is to make sure that younger, committed people that you trust will be engaged and continuing your fight after you are gone. Dogged persistence and continuity over time from one generation to the next are key for achieving religious change—and in doing so—never take your eyes off of Jesus, the things He said, and the things He did. Jesus is even more key.
And now, here is one of those discoveries about the ancient and mysterious religion at Cahokia. He was called several different names by the various tribes that were descended from the occupants of Cahokia
“He Who Wears Human Heads as Earrings”
He was the son of one called “Earthmaker.” He held power over life and death and held within his hands the power to resurrect the dead. Remind you of anyone? Admittedly, this is a bit oversimplified—but it makes a point. Here is how Red Horn appeared on two prehistoric artifacts archaeologists were finding at Mississippian Period mound sites here in the eastern United States. Remember—archaeologists for generations were puzzled about these artifacts until just the last few years of study:
God bless you. You are welcome to visit my blog at any time.
Ron – so, you really believe that homosexuality is not a sin? If it is a sin, like all immoral sin, should it not be kept out of the church? 1 Corinthians chapter 5. If this is the case, you no longer believe that the Bible is God’s Word? I guess I don’t understand how a man who once stood for truth no longer does so.
Vic, if you want to keep gays and lesbians out of your church or Sunday school, that’s up to you. But don’t interfere with the personal lives of those outside your church or denomination.
But the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter both told us not to meddle in the personal affairs of people outside the church. Click Here
Here is I Corinthians 5:12 in several translations:
∙ “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” (NIV)
∙ “For what have I to do with judging outsiders?” (NASB)
∙ “It is not for me to judge those outside the church.” (NLV)
The Apostle Peter commands us to not suffer because we have interfered in other people’s lives. Check I Peter 4:15.
∙ “Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer, or as a meddler in other men’s matters.” (ASV)
∙ “If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs.” (NLT)
∙ “Suppose you suffer. Then it shouldn’t be because you . . . poke your nose into other people’s business.” (NIRV)
∙ “None of you should suffer as one who . . . tries to be the boss of other peoples’ lives.” (NLV)
Mark 10:6-9 – “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Could you explain this verse…
I find your entire Bible odd. I.E…Hbrew stories of one man killing a 1000 war hardened, spear carrying, arrow shooting, soldiers with a jawbone? Amazing Samson could capture 300 foxes, let alone avoid an arrow in the eye! Now, we are told “God is NEVER changing, he’s the same..yesterday, today, and forever. He invokes laws to condemn gays to death in the O.T., then changes to love in the N.T.
One to convict, one to forgive. Yet, was not your son born gay? It would seem if God knew us before we were “created”, he would not create the gay he condemns. Or for the young hormones that drive them to masturbate, or the inclination of the playboy to see women as beautiful and a thing to be sexually desired. It seem your god loves setting up scenarios to fail, in order to condemn and then forgive. I feel he’s like a man who beats his wife, then buys her flowers!
Gary, I find the Bible odd, too! That’s the main reason I have enjoyed it! I certainly don’t accept every word as inerrant, or infallible, or anything of the sort.
For example, I would never consider myself blessed for taking the infants of my enemies and dashing them against the rocks! There’s a hell of a lot in the Bible that I understand and reject.
I trust you’re not surprised.
I was always taught that, even in fundamentalist colleges and seminaries, that the Bible was a book written in partnership between human beings and God’s Spirit.
Except for some fundamentalists, most Christian leaders know and acknowledge that there is a LOT in the Bible that does not reflect God’s take on things.
If you want to argue with the more narrow fundamentalists within Christianity’s big tent, that’s fine. Just realize that many serious Christians agree with you.
And “my God” is not guilty of what you describe. I am more than willing to acknowledge that three or four thousand years ago there were God-worshippers who understood God the way you describe.
I invite you to consider who you’re arguing with. Those guys who wrote that have been dead a long time. I’m not responsible for what they wrote, the same way I’m not responsible for what some fundamentalists teach and preach today.
Thanks for commenting!
It’s easy to find the Bible odd if you don’t believe it to be God’s inerrant Word. How can we truly know God if the Bible isn’t true? God’s ways are far above our ways, and He can make you able to understand His Word is true. I think it’s pretty dishonest for a man who doesn’t have a basis for his faith to even bother becoming a minister. It’s not just another way to make a buck – it’s commitment to God, and His Word.
Good points, Landre, good points!
You realize, of course, that “Inerrancy” has been discussed by God-fearing pastors and theologians for many, many years, and they haven’t settled on one definition that satisfies them all. You realize, of course, that the mustard seed is actually not the “smallest seed”, for example. And the Gospel of John records Jesus as clearing the Temple of the money-changers at the beginning of his ministry, but the other gospels record the Cleansing of the Temple as occurring at the end of his ministry.
Some theologians think that Jesus cleansed the Temple of the money-changers twice, while some other evangelicals and fundamentalists believe that John was simply exercising some liberty in his chronology for a theological reason.
Thanks for your input. And I thoroughly agree, the ministry is nott just another way to make a buck. Shout that one from the roof tops!
Please notify comments.
I think there is a button to click requesting to be notified of subsequent comments.
Well, Ron…that was an honest reply, thanks. It’s understandable that your God would allow men 3500+/- years to write fables (The Ark, Samson, Jonah) to explain creation, faith, etc…to ignorant shepherds. But to allow immoral stories (smashing baby heads) as representative of his heartfelt guidance for future generations to read reduces The Bible and God to a book to “cherry pick”. Which is exactly what you said. In essence, we cannot define God’s true thoughts from the men who misrepresent him. You and I are clearly only left with the one option…to “interpret” what we think it means. Which is why there are 100’s of Christian sects. It’s as if the Creator of the universe could not forsee how confusing and divisive this would be. How it allows other religions or atheists or those on the fence to point fingers at the futility of faith in this Christian God ( when no one can know for sure truth from fiction.) Fable from fact.
This cannot be what a real God would do.
For even your Bible states, ” God is NOT the author of confusion “. But as we can see from history …this writing style and technique of God ….allowing men to write his book has done exactly that….confused Christian and atheist alike. God in my view has to be far wiser than that. God no doubt is genius.
Well, Gary, you’re not talking to a literalist here! The Bible was written by dozens of men and women over a period of thousands of years on several different continents. I call the Bible “multivocal”–it speaks with many voices, and (unlike fundamentalists) I don’t believe that the Bible is internally consistent (read: it contradicts itself).
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen, philosophers, and divines.”
Thank you Ron for your blog. I discovered it recently when I was looking for some abomination quotes to remind people to read the bible seriously but not literally. I suggested if one was at Red Lobster and eating shell fish, one should stand up and point at them and cry, “Abomination!” This is an abomination unto the Lord and then throw those cheese biscuits at them. Peace out. Gary
Glad you came across my blog, Gary.
So, in your neck of the woods, what are anti-gay fundamentalists talking about lately? Are they more concerned with Trump than gays?
Okay, so I have decided that I love this blog. I am trying to figure many things out for myself, and so appreciate the time and energy you have taken to not only write all of these articles, but respond so thoroughly and lovingly to your readers. I will keep reading! 🙂
Also, sometimes all we can do is pray, and prayer does change things, always has.
James 5:16 “..The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
As I heard a long time ago, “More things are wrought by prayer than what this world dreams of”.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 ESV
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
2 Peter 3:15-18 ESV
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
I have a copy of the Bible. I’ve read the Bible a lot.
Did you want to make a personal comment? Or do you feel safer using the copy-and-paste method of conversation??
I was reading a book that quoted Hebrews and the author went on to explain what Paul meant. And I thought, “wait a minute! They don’t know who wrote Hebrews! I bet a woman wrote it!” And then I wondered: “surely others have had that thought! I will Google it!” And, hence, I found this web site, biblethumpingliberal.com. Sounds like it could be right up my alley – and so far, it all looks very interesting!