About Me – Tom Minkler

To start, you can check out All About Me: A Short Spiritual History on my original website that i hand-coded in HTML around the year 2000 (and the rest of the website is accessible from there). As everything there was written so long ago it is hopefully more immature than i am now  😉 and is written somewhat “off the cuff.”

I first became aware of the site ChristianGays as i was trying to write a document that would summarize why Christians should accept gay people as they are and support marriage for gay people. I had included a link to an article on Mary’s older site and realized the link had changed. So i contacted her, we chatted and she ended up posting the document here as an “eBook” (wow i wrote a book!).

(Let me note before i continue that i write using lowercase “i” on purpose, as i believe that selfishness is our core problem as humans (so it makes sense that Love God and Love others is the answer to our problems and the way to “heaven”); and it just seems to me that capitalizing “I” all the time can’t help but not help.)

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Who Left The Dogs Out?

Just a quick one, for an explanation of this parable about a Syrophoenician woman, children, dogs and crumbs. It always seemed harsh to me given that Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves (even towards people who hate us, as Jesus’s example the “good Samaritan” did). But as usual Jesus puts a twist on it, and our hearts have to be in that right place to get it. Here is the text, combined and grammar modernized from Mark 7:25-30 and Matthew 15:21-28 (NIV);

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Oneness

I think i will preface this by noting one big difference between the Pharisees (as portrayed in our Library of Writings known as the Bible) and Jesus. The Pharisees created a lot of separation between themselves, and the Jews and others: Don’t talk to the Samaritans, don’t touch the lepers, hate the tax collectors (who were traitors and thieves, the worst kind of snitch/rat that even thieves and traitors hate!). Gentiles were out also, and women not only weren’t allowed to read scripture but couldn’t even be touched in case they were “unclean.” The Pharisees were all about separate, separate, block, block, block.

Jesus, on the other (right) hand, included EVERYONE. He broke down the wall between the Jews and tax collectors by calling Zacchaeus down from the tree and having dinner at his house, as well as calling Levi/Matthew to be one of the disciples. He touched lepers a lot, healed Romans and other Gentiles, ate with sinners and scumbags and not only talked to the Samaritan woman at the well but would have even drank water from the jar she touched (gasp)! Jesus also had women companions and followers and some of them supported him in his ministry. Every time the disciples wanted to send someone away, including children, Jesus always said “let them come.” Jesus not only broke down the exclusive barrier between Jews and Gentiles, he shattered the barrier between MAN and GOD by dying for our sins!  Jesus always moved towards joining, community, ONENESS.

I can almost hear God’s instructions: Jesus, tear down those walls!

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The Nicene Creed Redux

Creeds like this one seem like they drop a pile of boxes filled with human ideas on top of God, who is so BIG that no human description could ever suffice. I hadn’t had an occasion to read a creed in awhile, so when we read it out of the Episcopal prayer book during my mom’s funeral, i realized “woah i don’t even believe half of this!” It may be more true that i just don’t like the way it sounds, like, oppressive. Plus it was written 2000 years ago, by the beginnings of the Catholic church. Haven’t we learned anything since then?

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But What About Punishment?

(First, see my previous article, “Christianese Substitutions Part 3 – “Hell” which reviews the actual Hebrew and Greek words that “hell” is substituted for throughout the Bible, and their meanings.)

I understand the need or want for punishment for people who hurt people; what about murderers, torturers, rapists and thieves (and those of us who allowed people we voted for to do those things? 🙁 ) Paul of Tarsus might add other things such as his list in Romans 1:28:

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Christianese Substitutions Part 3 – “Hell”

This is part 3 in a list of words that are Greek, or transliterated directly from Greek, but in this case are translated by a different word – “hell” – even though the Hebrew and Greek words have actual meanings of their own.

Also check out “What is Hell? by Br. Lawrence Damien elsewhere on this site, which goes through the Bible in some detail and shows how the words are used.
And 
Part 1 and Part 2 of Hell In The Bible at brazenchurch.com plus the Biblical “Satan” Is Not What We Think.
And this whole series at tentmaker.org with this one, noting how often the Bible says ALL!
For people who want to take the Bible literally, here are: 
21 verses stating that the wicked will be destroyed, 
and
21 verses saying that everyone will be saved (universalism)


hell
=

  • Sheol (O.T.): “Asked For”
  • Hades: “Unseen Place”
  • Gehenna: Valley of Hinnom, Burning Dumpsite (outside of town)

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Christianese Substitutions Part 2 – Names Etc.

This set of documents is a list of words that are Greek, or transliterated directly from Greek, or are OLD and do not belong in the Bible. This second part is mostly about names. Even the word “scripture” just means “writings” and the word “Bible” just means “library of writings.” Why not speak clearly in regular English (or whatever modern language) instead of creating a bunch of “Christianese” lingo, which makes it sound “fancy”  or “cliquish” like it’s written in some kind of code? 

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Christianese Substitutions Part 1

This is a list of words that are Greek, or transliterated directly from Greek, or are OLD and do not belong in the Bible.  Even the word “scripture” just means “writings” and the word “Bible” just means “library of writings.” Why not speak clearly in regular English (or whatever modern language) instead of creating a bunch of “Christianese” lingo, which makes it sound “fancy”  or “cliquish” like it’s written in some kind of code?  
For Names and other, including those for God, see document titled “…Part 2 – Names.”

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The First Time I Heard About An Actual Gay Person

I for sure don’t truly understand the actual experience, and i can’t promise this article is completely PC, but this is just to explain how i dealt with the cultural progression. When we were kids, which for me was in the 1960s and 1970s (but this is likely universal), little dudes were basically afraid of looking effeminate or weak, and being called the resultant epithets i’m sure gay people are familiar with. One kid named Mark, who had been “held back” and could be called “a bully” (although he wasn’t one every minute), used to sing the tagline of that song “Go away, little girl…” to a kid named Kenneth. I remember standing beside him in line and wanting to stick up for him, but of course i was afraid of “what, are you one too?” I had also never heard of that song. It seems that people were always aware that “gayness” exists, but it’s weird that when it started to become a “thing” in the 1970s and 1980s, all of a sudden people didn’t believe anyone could really be gay. Weird, right?

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Christianity Breakdown

Here is a summary of Christianity as i understand it now.

You can also check out my Christianity page on my old website (which badly needs to be updated).
And i really love the site YHWH.com; wish i wrote it myself!

I tried to summarize this all in a few key sentences, but this is the best I could do, since everything is connected to everything!

GOD

There is a “thing” or “being” that exists and we can FEEL, that is pure love. Honestly IT will pour over you like liquid love. IT appears strongly in places like churches where people are united, especially if outside of their own egos, there to acknowledge a common greatness outside of themselves. This also includes sports stadiums when the crowd cheers together, or moments of self-sacrifice or pure honesty and goodness. Wherever two or three are gathered in the name of BEing, not self. Generally people call IT “God,” although “God” is actually a generic noun, not a “proper name.” But IT is also known by other labels.

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