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  1. Other points of view:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/zinniajones/2012/07/matt-moores-incredible-christian-arrogance/

    http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2012/07/homoquotable-matt-moore.html

    http://thewhygenerationusa.blogspot.com/2012/07/idiot-of-week-matt-moore.html

    http://www.npr.org/2012/05/21/153213796/spitzers-apology-changes-ex-gay-debate

    Like most other ex-gays, Matt Moore will probably get caught in some embarrassing situation and have to admit that he’s not an ex-gay after all.

    Once again, Terrell, you focus on parts of your religion that fit your personal agenda (gays, abortion, socialism, atheism, gun control, etc.) and ignore the most important teaching of your savior — love, charity, healing and forgiveness.

    You need to read YOUR bible. Matthew 25:
    31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
    41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
    44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
    45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
    46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

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  2. I know people that have just at some point had the experience of a large dark shroud being lifted off their being. IT has been described as a light switch being flipped.For the people I know like Matt, that was the start of the journey, not the journey and then the realization, although I am sure it happens that way as well. Thank Matt for his story adn thank yu Terrell for sharing.

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  3. Thank you for alternative points of view, Les.

    You may be right about Matt Moore. You may be right about me too. One of the hardest things about Christianity is that, in order to become a part of it, we have to acknowledge that we’re really, really messed up. One of the beautiful, wonderful things about it is, when we mess up, we know it’s still okay.

    Our God, who is also the God who made you too, has offered up an acceptable sacrifice of atonement on our behalf. We’re so forgiven, we can take criticism, abuse, harsh words and whatever else other people hurl at us. It’s okay.

    Thank you for the words of Jesus of Nazareth, the accepted and resurrected sacrifice of atonement. He can never be quoted too often.

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  4. Best billboard I’ve seen all year:

    If you blame the decline of America on: Homosexuals, Abortions, Non-believers, Separation of Church & State, Evolution and the Poor
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
    YOU are what’s wrong with this country!

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  5. September 14, 2012
    Turned Away, He Turned to the Bible
    By DOUGLAS QUENQUA

    ONE year after Matthew Vines was forced to leave the Wichita, Kan., church he had attended since birth — not because he is gay, but because he tried to convince people there was nothing wrong with that — he was sitting facing a crowd of 235 Christians, most of them gay or lesbian, at the Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

    Throughout the evening, various guests called him an inspiration and a messenger. One woman suggested he is an angel.

    “Last year I felt like the only gay Christian,” Mr. Vines told the crowd last month, his hands noticeably shaking. “Now I feel like all Christians are gay. I suddenly have hundreds of Facebook friends who are gay Christians. So all right, we’re doing great!”

    It was a rare moment of levity from a serious young man. At 22, Mr. Vines has emerged as an unlikely advocate (and lightning rod) for those straddling one of the most volatile fault lines in America’s culture war: homosexual Christians. As the country rushed to take sides over Chick-fil-A, J. C. Penney, the Boy Scouts and Michele Bachmann, Mr. Vines took a leave of absence from Harvard, where he was studying philosophy, to offer a lesson on the Bible and same-sex relations.

    “It is simply a fact that the Bible does not discuss or condemn loving, gay relationships,” said Mr. Vines, eating an omelet at Tom’s Restaurant in Brooklyn the day after his church appearance. “The point is that these texts have a meaning, and the traditional reading of them is wrong. It is incorrect — biblically, historically, linguistically.”

    The medium for Mr. Vines’s message is a lecture that he delivered, videotaped and posted to YouTube in March. In it, Mr. Vines tackles the traditional interpretations of all six Bible passages that refer to homosexual acts, arguing that they don’t actually condemn, or even address, the modern understanding of homosexuality.

    It is a dense and scholarly presentation, drawing from history, theology, hermeneutics and ancient Greek. It is also suffused with emotion, particularly when Mr. Vines pleads with viewers to consider the plight of the modern gay Christian, who is effectively forced into celibacy.

    “Falling in love is one of the worst things that could happen to a gay person,” Mr. Vines says early in the video, “because you will necessarily be heartbroken, you will have to run away, and that will happen every single time that you come to care about someone else too much.”

    In the six months it has been on YouTube, “The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality” has been viewed 350,000 times and generated nearly 7,000 comments — not bad given its 67-minute run time and lack of music, humor or even a second camera angle. It has been translated into six different languages, including French, German and Spanish, with Japanese, Korean and Arabic versions in the works. Churches as far away as Australia and South Africa have held public screenings of the video, and Mr. Vines has been invited to speak at churches from Washington, D.C., to Washington state.

    “I had basically become a closeted Christian,” said Jim Augustine, 32, a member of Marble Collegiate Church who was instrumental in bringing Mr. Vines there to speak in August. “When I came into sexuality, I came out of Christianity. Matthew gave me the intellectual tools to get past that cognitive dissonance.”

    FOR the devoutly religious Mr. Vines — who is small-framed and pale with dark, narrow eyes — convincing people that there is no contradiction in being gay and Christian has deep, personal roots.

    In late 2009, just weeks after accepting that he was, in fact, homosexual, Mr. Vines decided to take a semester off from college so he could come out to his family and friends in Wichita. Knowing that his father would have trouble reconciling his sexual orientation with Scripture, Mr. Vines decided to arm himself with all available scholarship on the Bible and homosexuality.

    He studied scholars like Martti Nissinen, professor of Old Testament studies at the University of Helsinki; Dale Martin, a professor of religious studies at Yale; and John Boswell, author of the seminal book on the topic, “Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality.” Eventually, at the request of a classmate, Mr. Vines compiled the information into a six-page research paper.

    Some of the arguments were well known (Leviticus does not apply to Christians, for example); others less so, like the more plausible translations for the Greek term malakos, long interpreted as “effeminate” in the Corinthians passage listing those who won’t inherit the kingdom of God.

    But key for Mr. Vines was the realization that every instance of homosexuality in the Bible represented excess lust, gang rape or “unnatural” acts committed by heterosexual men. Portrayals — much less condemnations — of naturally gay men, for whom opposite-sex relationships are not an option, simply never appear.

    “That’s huge, that argument,” he said. “It’s key. It’s being made, but it needs to be made more, and more often.”

    In 2011, Mr. Vines began using his knowledge to seek acceptance from his childhood church. One by one, he took parishioners to dinner and made his case. His father even helped him distribute his now eight-page paper to the church’s governing board.

    “It was not well received,” Mr. Vines said. “So then I added six more pages to address some of their concerns and criticisms.” But it made no difference, and the Vineses eventually severed their relationship with the church they had attended for decades, a devastating move for the conservative Christian family.

    Sad but not defeated, Mr. Vines resolved to take his message to a larger stage. He said he would turn his paper into “a resource that every gay Christian anywhere in the world who is struggling with this can access and can learn from.”

    Within a few months, Mr. Vines had written a presentation, practiced it in front of his family, found a church that would let him speak and paid a local production company $500 to tape it. Once uploaded to YouTube, “The Gay Debate” quickly found an audience, admiring and otherwise.

    In March, Dan Savage posted it on his blog and called it “brilliant.” Leonard Pitts Jr., syndicated columnist with The Miami Herald, called it “a masterwork of scriptural exegesis” in a column in May. In July, Mark Sandlin, a founder of The Christian Left, called it “the final nail in the ‘you’re being homophobic coffin’ ” in an article for The Huffington Post.

    Less admiringly, James White, director of the Alpha and Omega Ministries in Phoenix, dedicated five hourlong podcasts to refuting, and sometimes belittling, Mr. Vines’s arguments. Matt Moore, a Christian blogger from Louisiana and self-described reformed homosexual, published a blistering 1,700-word rebuttal. Several YouTube commenters compared Mr. Vines to Satan.

    Such responses are not surprising, said Terry Todd, associate professor of American religious studies at Drew University in Madison, N.J. While Mr. Vines’s arguments are based in solid religious scholarship, they have been argued before, and rarely to much effect.

    “I think Matt’s arguments are unlikely to change many minds, especially among the leadership in the conservative Christian communities to which they are addressed,” Mr. Todd, who otherwise praises Mr. Vines’s bravery, wrote in an e-mail. “These same arguments, largely taken from a generation of biblical scholarship from mainstream academics, have circulated for decades in those communities.”

    It is a criticism Mr. Vines has heard before, and one he does not entirely refute. “I’m not making new arguments,” he said, “and I would hope not to be, because you want them to be well substantiated scholarly.”

    Novel or not, Mr. Vines’s arguments have made a difference to many young gay Christians struggling with issues of sexual identity. James Gooch, 21, from Princeton, W.Va., had just given up trying to “pray away the gay,” as he put it, and was struggling with depression when he came upon Mr. Vines’s video on Facebook two months ago.

    “I was just compelled to tears,” he said in an interview. “I found my faith all over again in that video.” Mr. Gooch showed it to his parents as well, and says “it’s made all the difference for our family.” He has since come out to the rest of his family and friends, largely to “positive feedback.”

    Beth Buchanan, a lesbian Christian in Miami, Okla., recently showed the video to her mother. “My mom cried at the end,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Since then she has been comfortable talking about homosexuality.”

    Some heterosexual Christians say it has changed their minds, as well. Betsy Burns Johnson, 51, of Ottawa wrote a note on her Facebook page in May saying she was no longer so sure the Bible condemned homosexuality.

    “Does it make me nervous to take such a radical stand against such a long standing belief in favour of that of a 21 year old gay boy from Kansas? YOU BET IT DOES,” she wrote. But “lets face it, many Biblical stands we take on issues are based very much on how these scriptures have been interpreted over the centuries by people other than ourselves.”

    As long as Mr. Vines keeps hearing reactions like these (he said he has received thousands of e-mails, Twitter messages and Facebook friend requests), it is hard for him to imagine returning to Harvard anytime soon. For now, his plan is to continue promoting the video, be it through talk shows (supporters have been tweeting his video to Ellen DeGeneres), DVD sales or church appearances. “We need to get these arguments into the hands of people who need them,” he said.

    But he is not yet comfortable in the spotlight, either. At a reception after his appearance at Marble Collegiate Church, Mr. Vines looked overwhelmed as he stood shaking hands with a line of well-wishers that stretched out the door.

    “One woman asked me how to convince her parents that being gay wasn’t a choice,” Mr. Vines said the next day. “I wish I had time to answer a question like that.” He admits he has given up trying to answer all his e-mail.

    For a sensitive and soft-spoken young man who spends most of his free time with his parents and said he had never had a boyfriend, such admiration poses a challenge of its own.

    “I find it extremely fulfilling, but it’s not like I’m having a fun time,” Mr. Vines said. “I don’t want this to be a decades-long undertaking.”

    In what could be as much a sign of his youth as his determination, Mr. Vines doesn’t think it needs to be.

    “The base line for this issue should be no one in the world anywhere should be homophobic at all,” he said. “Once we get there, we can move on to other things.”

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    • It’s not “simply a fact that the Bible does not discuss or condemn loving, gay relationships”. The Bible says no to homosexual sex. So unless you are referring to sexless gay relationships, then the Bible says ‘no’. It’s also not true that “every instance of homosexuality in the Bible represented excess lust, gang rape or “unnatural” acts committed by heterosexual men.” That claim disregards 1 Timothy 1:10 and Leviticus 18:22.

      And his was not a “scholarly presentation”. Scholarly works require objectivity, balance and overall accuracy.

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      • And what about the whole shrimp and pork thing? I see you like to pick and choose what parts of scripture you follow. I have no problem with you following any part that you want. Just don’t try to impose it on those with different religious beliefs.

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      • The shrimp and pork thing is unfortunately an urban myth that doesnt go away. It’s true that there are parts of the Bible that forbid certain foods. But those rules are in the Old Testament. Christians primarily follow Jesus, who is the feature of the New Testament. Jesus is recorded in the New Testament as saying that “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” (Matthew 15:11). So Christians generally believe that Jesus overruled those old rules, and that there is no food that is forbidden for Christians.
        I agree that Christians should not impose their beliefs on others. But I believe that the policy of not imposing beliefs on others needs to apply to all. EG Christians should not have fines imposed upon them, if they are a cake maker, who does not wish to make a cake for a lesbian wedding, or if they are a photographer who does not wish to photograph a gay wedding (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/08/22/New-Mexico-Court-Christian-Photographer-Cannot-Refuse-Gay-Marriage-Ceremony-Next-Stop-U-S-Supreme-Court)

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      • Then stasisonline, you don’t think there should be laws concerning public businesses who refuse services to blacks, Jews, Muslims, Catholics or the Irish?

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      • Fair point. To be consistent, I have to answer ‘no’. I doubt there would be many businesses that would discriminate along those lines though.

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  6. Well! That didn’t take long!

    Matt Moore, ‘Ex-Gay’ Christian Advocate, Exposed On Grindr

    The Huffington Post | By Cavan Sieczkowski Posted: 02/05/2013 12:52 pm EST | Updated: 02/05/2013 1:17 pm EST

    An “ex-gay” Christian advocate, who blogs about how religion saved him from a life of homosexual sin, was recently discovered on gay hookup app Grindr.

    Matt Moore, a blogger for the Christian Post, writes extensively about how Christianity has helped him to turn away from a gay lifestyle. But, apparently it didn’t help him quite enough to steer him away from Grindr.

    Freethought Blogs writer Zinnia Jones, LGBT rights activist and HuffPost GayVoices blogger, was the first to expose Moore’s Grindr account on Monday. At first, she questioned if the account could be a fake, but Moore later admitted the Grindr profile was his.

    “I am wrong in having been on grindr. I haven’t changed my views on homosexuality, the bible, etc.,” he said to Jones. “Creating a grindr profile and talking to guys on it was major disobedience on my part….disobedience to Christ. Disobedience to a loving and gracious God. Thankfully, I believe that He forgives me for this disobedience. I believe the blood of Christ covers this disobedience. And I won’t be on grindr again….ever.”

    Moore also said that the pastor of his church was made aware of his Grindr activities before the news came out publicly.

    In March, Moore discussed his struggles and triumphs for the Christian Post in a blog post, titled “My Story: Homosexuality, Drunkenness, Grace and Redemption.”

    When attempting to explain his gay desires, Moore wrote, “I had a yearning in my soul that God had placed there for Himself, but I was perverting that desire and directing it toward people instead of my Creator.”

    Although he “never really thought, ‘I want God to cure me of my homosexuality,'” Moore turned to religion for the cure. He says that every day he deals with desires, but claims it is worth the fight “because of the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart, I am able to see clearly that the homosexual feelings I have are a perversion of the gift of sex that God gave mankind.”

    Queerty notes that Moore promotes his “ex-gay” theories beyond his blog. He has done interviews with Christian websites and is behind events like the Overcomers SSA Conference.

    Towleroad says that Moore is “deluding” himself and that his writings are “dangerous to others who may be reading them with questioning feelings.”

    Jones explains this ideology in her blog post: “So-called ‘ex-gays’ publicly promote the notion that LGBT people are sinning against a god who will torture them eternally if they fail to suppress and deny their true nature. But privately, they often seem to have trouble practicing what they preach.”

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  7. Hi Les. I see the story of Matt Moore hasn’t left your mind.

    You may not have thought about it since you don’t identify yourself with Christianity, but Matt’s story here doesn’t undermine Christianity at all. In fact it underscores its truths. As I noted above, Christianity holds that:

    1. We are all sinful, terribly sinful, in fact; so much so that our basic tendency is to deny our own sinfulness. This is true of Matt.
    2. But if we confess our sin and repent, we receive full and complete forgiveness. This is also true of him.
    3. Those two truths notwithstanding, we still struggle with sinful desires until the day we die. Obviously, this is also true.

    The truths of the Christian faith really aren’t that hard to understand. They may be hard to accept, but they’re coherent and within reach of us all.

    Matt still struggles. I struggle too. The difference between you and me is I feel compassion for him. You seem to feel some combination of contempt and glee. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but regardless of what any of us feels or thinks, God himself will deal with Matt Moore on the basis of the crucified Savior who forgives. From what I can see Matt Moore will be just fine.

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