By Force (Part 2): 2 Kings 18 – 25

(This is the second part of a two-part entry. Check out the first part here)

Propaganda. Hezekiah Mounts. Assyria Defeated. Judah Collapses. Josiah Redeems, But. Enter Nebuchadnezzar.

God dissolves His kingdom. We have already seen Israel collapse under the weight of its own sin, and now it is Judah’s turn. But how did it get this bad, how did Moses’ people possibly go from so beloved to so reviled by the Lord?

Hezekiah enters the scene right before everything falls apart and does his best to keep it from happening. His faith leaps in a way that we have not seen since David; once appointed, Hezekiah immediately gets to work on ridding the temple of all signs of idolatry – a quick way to get on God’s good side. Then, he leads the army to defeat the evil Assyrian king Sennacherib, who has been spreading affecting propaganda – about a future of consuming urine and feces no less – to secure troops for his side. But as all great leaders must, Hezekiah eventually passes on to rest with the other members of God’s A squad.

Then, six evil kings later, God decides to put an end to it all by scattering His people and ending the kingdom of Judah (for now). He allows the Babylonian nemesis Nebuchadnezzar to overtake the city of Jerusalem, thus laying down the final dirt of His punishment (for now).

The language in this section of the Bible is alarmingly aggressive, even in its most poetic moments. God warns of disaster that will make ears tingle, that he will wipe out Jerusalem as one wipes a dish. Some of the most antagonistic descriptions come when God lays down his intention of destroying the Assyrian rebellion. In one section, He says:

I will put my hook in your nose
    and my bit in your mouth,
and I will make you return
    by the way you came.

2 Kings 19:28 (NIV)

When the evil men of the world stray, the Lord will treat them like cattle, pulling them back into submission.

I am not going to over-dramatize this phrasing – it is true that God is referring to a pretty heinous leader who actively stirs and overflowing pot – but it struck me nonetheless. A hook in my nose. A bit in my mouth. I have felt that way before, being led back to the herd in a forced way.

It is why I always recoiled against writing forced apology letters. If my parents are guiding my hand, then it is not genuine, so why apologize in the first place? Why all the pomp, if it is meaningless? I realize that a laissez-faire attitude in this circumstance would not work – children must learn some good behavior by muscle memory, even if the attitude is not completely honest. But now… as an adult? My attitude must be honest, because if not, then what’s the point?

I do not think anyone here is suggesting a hook-and-bit approach to evangelism (contextually, God uses this harsh language towards a particularly apoplectic enemy). That is a relief to me – I find persuasion by force to be a highly ineffective strategy for lasting results. But often, I feel that pressure – I can sense that rope being lowered around my neck to be forced in a certain direction. And that makes me feel led astray.

A Pat on the Back: 2 Samuel 20 – 24

A Head Thrown from the Wall. Son for Son. War after War. A Jubilation. The Final Word. An Untold Anger. Three Days of Plague – Forgiveness.

I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to my cleanness in his sight.

2 Samuel 2:24-25 (NIV)

A conversation with my mother recently ended with a challenge from her: “Remember all the times that God was there for you over the years.” I had no intelligent response to that, and we hung up shortly thereafter. Her sentiment was clear. I have had struggles throughout my life – as we all have – and she attributed my growth to the hand of God. It is far from a ridiculous thought; spiritual people often credit God for their successes, and even their not-so-successes. Those words swirled around my head for a few days: “God was there…” They are still chugging around. I am unsettled by them.

David’s story is nearing its close, and his challenges continue to pile up. A “troublemaker” named Sheba attempts to upheave the throne and enlists the men of Israel to desert their own man-after-God’s-own-heart. But David sends his trusty general Joab to pursue him, and the story ends with Sheba’s head being thrown over a city wall. Things go from bad to worse when the Gibeonites demand vengeance for crimes committed against them under the rule of Saul. Their price: have seven of Saul’s male heirs handed over to be killed and “exposed.” David relents, and seven of his innocent men die. And then, another war with the Philistines breaks out, which is quickly squashed. No legacy comes without its hiccups, I suppose.

Before 2 Samuel comes to a close, David gives his final words to the Israelites in the tradition of passing wisdom onto the next generation. My New International Version Bible titles this section “David’s Song of Praise,” but I think calling it an out-and-out jubilation is more appropriate. David has made it through this life with all its pitfalls, and somehow exits still in God’s good graces – a task that should not be underestimated. He does what Moses and Aaron and Noah could not accomplish. He did not stray far from the path. And so he has many praises to sing.

He speaks of calling out to God in distress and being saved. (22:7)
God rescued him in wondrous fashion – complete with smoke, dark clouds, and cherubim. (22:10–13)
Foes swarmed him, but he was protected. (22:18)
Finally, David recalls his own righteousness, and how it is directly responsible for his fortune. (22:21)

The Bible finally makes some room for grandiloquent, yet affecting, poetry in this section, and David certainly drives home his point. God is good to those that follow Him. In fact, God is better than merely good; He is fantastic. David speaks of his own righteousness for a total of ten verses (22:21-30) before drifting into a section that exalts God’s holiness (22:31-37), and I think he must be arguing some sort of cause-effect relationship with this structure.

But that is not how I know God to be. I grew up believing that God challenged, tested, and blessed us, and while our behavior certainly had some impact on that, it was not necessarily an indicator. If something bad happened – failing a test or getting passed over for a part in a play – then it could have been either a test of my strength or a punishment for disobedience. I never could tell – and yet, this did not stop others from making their guesses as to which one it was.

My mother has a point. If God has been guiding my life through its pitfalls, then I ought to give it up to Him for making things happen. But all doubts aside, I have difficulty making any such claim. Because I could never identify the cause to any effect – never sensed the connection between behavior and cosmic event. If God does truly act upon our lives in such a way, then I hope His methodology becomes a bit more clear in His Word. Because right now, I have trouble seeing the strings.

Testing the Limits: 2 Samuel 13 – 19

“O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”

2 Samuel 18:33b (NIV)

David’s world comes unhinged in the aftermath of his affair with Bathsheba. God sends the prophet Nathan to rebuke David for his behavior and lay a curse upon him, one that reads similar to the original sin curse brought down upon Adam and Eve: “Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you,” Nathan says. (2 Samuel 12:11) He drops a general curse of misfortune – chaos and despair. Within a week, David and Bathsheba’s lovechild passes away, despite David’s cries for mercy. And it only begins there.

A very strange tension begins to stir among David’s children, something worthy of a Civil War-era family melodrama. There are Amnon and Absalom – half brothers from different mothers – and then Tamar, full-sister to Absalom. Tamar’s immense beauty catches the eye Amnon, and he falls in love with her. But she understands the wickedness of such a relationship, and when Amnon makes an advance on her, she bluntly refuses. Men in the Old Testament are not accustomed with being told “no,” so Amnon forces himself upon Tamar, raping her.

Afterwards, Tamar dresses herself as a woman in mourning, with ashes upon her head and a torn garment, and when her brother Absalom sees her, he immediately knows the awful thing that has happened. He rushes out in utter abjection and orders death to the drunk and defenseless Amnon. Then, Absalom flees into the wilderness to avoid the wrath of his father. But David invites him back home to Jerusalem.

This rage appears to trigger a change in Absalom’s demeanor, sparking a rebellious nature that slowly begins to guide all of his actions. He openly undermines King David’s authority by creating an unrest amongst his followers. While wandering from town to town, he announces quite openly, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.” (2 Samuel 15:4) Then, he flat out asks the Israelites to refer to him as their king, and in anticipation for a conflict with David, Absalom begins to accrue an army. Once word of this reaches Jerusalem, David gathers his people and descends into hiding so as to avoid the crushing advances of his Machiavellian son.

But fate cannot be warded off forever, and Absalom meets his end. While riding a mule, his long hair gets caught in the bulky branches of an oak tree, suspending him helplessly in the air. That is when a general in David’s army named Joab comes upon him. He counts it as a duty to slay Absalom, the deceiver. He takes three javelins and slams them into his heart.

This news does not please David despite the fact that Absalom had every intention of overthrowing him. In fact, when news of the death of his rebellious reaches him, he immediately begins to mourn and wail – “Oh Absalom, my son, my son!” Even in his treachery, Absalom did not reach the limits of David’s love. Despite all of his nefarious actions, David unconditionally adored his son. Nothing would have been able to unseat that love.

I had an odd emotional reaction to reading this story. I am not typically moved by such theatrics and melodrama – a father loyal to his son all the way to the end. This certainly does not mirror any current or past situation in my life – it does not even really remind me of anything in particular. But the emotion – I recognize that. My parents have that for me, no matter how much they may disapprove of my “lifestyle.” They love me in a profound sense, and it is a fully loyal love. In fact, their desire for me to fight my queerness comes from that protective sense of love. I disagree with them – I think I would be supremely unhappy withdrawing myself completely and living in celibacy (or pursuing a heterosexual relationship). I want love. They want love for me. We have different strategies, different outlooks, different viewpoints, but we have that same desire for love. Like David and Jonathan, and David for Absalom, like Jacob for Joseph, and Ruth and Boaz. I am going to hold onto that common ground for now.

It is a bridge, a start. And for now, I’ll take it.

When the Mighty Fall: 2 Samuel 8 – 12

David – The Conqueror, The Protector, The Adulterer, The Murderer

[To David] Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own.

2 Samuel 12:9 (NIV)

I am a classic yin and yang kind of guy. No pure evil or good truly exists – at least not among men. Show me a monolith of a man, and I will be incredulous of him until you show me a flaw. No one is perfect, not even close.

King David does a bad thing. While his army defeats the Ammonites, he remains home in Jerusalem, and one night during a bout insomnia, he catches a glimpse of a beautiful woman bathing. Enter Bathsheba, the stunning wife of a man named Uriah. With covetous eyes, David invites her into his chamber and sleeps with her. A pregnancy results – as one always seems to in situations like these – and David reacts swiftly. He sends Uriah off into the warzone, at the front lines, so that he will be killed swiftly. It comes to pass. With Uriah dead, David weds the newly widowed Bathsheba.

We have seen numerous biblical “heroes” falter. Noah became a drunk after the flood. Moses did not trust God. Aaron created false idols and lead others to worship them. But none so far have climbed so high and fallen so hard. Critics tend to just revel in the downfall of those who sit on high pedestals, especially those who espouse a certain ideal. David demands his followers to listen to God’s word on such a precise level; he is a man after God’s own heart.

This has happened in modern times with Christian leaders meeting ironic downfalls. One clear example of this type of mountainous rise to epic fall is Ted Haggard, the evangelical, anti-gay pastor who was caught in a gay affair with a prostitute in 2006. At his peak, he oversaw 14,000 members of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where he often spoke about the incongruous nature of a Christian and LGBT lifestyle (a point of view still held by the Evangelical Church). So pundits were relieved, to say the least, when Mike Jones – a part time prostitute/part time methamphetamine dealer – outed Haggard as a homosexual who often came to visit him. Haggard promptly left his leadership positions, entered “make-you-not-gay” therapy, and left Colorado.

Many smiled at this swing of events. I found it fascinating, because Haggard’s story could have easily have been mine. Having spent years of my life in the closet – as an anti-gay secretly-queer Christian – I could have ended up like Haggard at the bottom of a cone of shame. Luckily, I got out and owned up. And now, well, here I am.

Did you know Jonathan had a lame son named Mephibosheth? When he was young, a nurse attempted to carry him to safety after the news of Saul’s and Jonathan’s death reached his hometown. In the hurry, she dropped him. He snapped his legs – now useless. And out of continued loyalty to his friend Jonathan, David swears that Mephibosheth will never want for anything, will never go hungry, will always be cared for. Be still my heart… What a truly amazing man!

So no, no schadenfreude here, not this time. For someone a bit jaded with regards to human holiness, you think I would find this story refreshing. But it brings me no solace to hear stories of David’s fall. The older I get, the more I want to see the good in people. And I saw genuine good in David.

But alas, he is human.

Violence! Violence! : 2 Samuel 1 – 7

A Tearful Eulogy. House of David v. House of Saul. The Lingering Few. An End to Bitterness. David, King of Israel. The Ark Moves. A Message – A Prayer.

“…Must the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end in bitterness?”
2 Samuel 2:26a (NIV)

I have never liked violence, which is odd considering my utter obsession with James Bond. Now before everyone starts making assumptions, it has absolutely nothing to do with Bond’s debonair attitude and handsome physique (read: he’s not my type). His unflinching nature appealed to me the most – that cold decision-making and snap-reaction instinct. I was always a plotter, thinking through each step of a scenario, finding pictures of every location, checking weather, printing Mapquests, packing diligently, just generally being prepared. But Bond lived differently; he had a fixed amount of resources and utilized them for a wide variety of purposes. No maps, no snacks, no endless supply of weapons. And then there was his violence.

I realize it is an arbitrary (and completely ridiculous) line to draw, but I liked that James Bond almost solely used a gun. I realize how stupid this sounds, but guns always seemed to be the least violent weapon available, especially when compared to the alternatives of knife, sword, axe, etc. Savages used those – usually Bond’s villains resorted to one of those.

So from an early age, I avoided any sort of violent imagery involving “savage” battle. I would happily play the Nintendo 64 staple Goldeneye but would never use the knives as weapons (they made an awful clunky slicing sound when landing in the opponent). I refused to watch movies with any semblance of gore, such as Braveheart or any slasher-horror movie (and let’s not forget my infamous run in with Gladiator), and as time went on, I began to flat out resent it in any form. My opinion grew from “I don’t like it” to “this is gratuitous and wrong,” and that is my current state of feeling today.

So I am relieved to see the vicious warring of the Bible coming to a close – at least for now. With Saul dead, the few remaining followers of his begin to make their final fledgling strikes against David. But unlike his predecessors, David does not seem to hold the same thirst for blood, and on the contrary, punishes those who commit violence without purpose.

Abner is a commander in charge of Saul’s army but makes a successful agreement with David, handing over parts of the kingdom. With great enthusiasm, he encourages David to take his rightful place at the top of Israel, and so in gratitude, David finds no action of his worthy of punishment. However, the past cannot be forgotten for all… During Abner’s reign as commander, he had killed a soldier chasing after him by the name of Asahel, and his surviving brother Joab does not take kindly to Abner’s pardon. So in the name of his fallen brother, he rushes into Abner’s home and avenges his death.

Call it speculation, but I feel a different king might have believed this revenge-killing a noble gesture, one that is both appropriate and expected for a grieving family member. But David does not like it. He levels a severe punishment:

May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food. (2 Samuel 3:29)

This situation repeats itself when two newly acquired soldier murder Saul’s son, presenting the head to David as a gift of sorts. David rejects this gesture, sentencing both men to death, and out of respect for Saul’s reign, buries the head in a proper way

Shortly afterwards, he ends the war, unites the kingdom of Israel, and brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

I like this David guy. He is both loving and strong, resisting random acts of violence while still delivering on God’s commandments. He believes in loyalty and respects even his enemies. They say he is a man after God’s own heart, and for the first time in the Bible, that inspires me. I would love to be more like David.

I might even argue he is better than James Bond.

And for you viewing pleasure, my favorite scene of VIOLENCE, VIOLENCE. This type of gratuity is much more my style: 

Jonathan and David: The Case for Icky, Heathen, Gay Relationship

Your love for me was wonderful,
    more wonderful than that of women.

2 Samuel 1:26b (NIV)

Hidden sexual relationships are often viewed upon as shameful. I was personally blown away when friends of mine began to have sex in high school, because it all just felt way too soon. I could not help but feel that these friends of mine, these kids (read: 16-year-olds) were now dirtied in some irreparable way. The looked different to me – like their appearance seemed to morph into something much more defined. Suddenly, I took in their curves, the droops of their skin, the exact ovalness of their eyes. They were no longer a general whole, but rather, a collection of pieces – parts that were touched and utilized and dirtied.

I now know this reaction to have been completely internalized in Jesse-land, because I often did not discover my friends’ affairs until well after they had occurred. The “transformation” in their physical appearance happened only when I had found out. So when I say, it was not them but me, you know I am being completely earnest.

I think this is the most important question: If we consider the possibility that David and Jonathan had a romantic (and perhaps sexual) relationship, does that alter our view of them? So far, the two mentions of practical homosexuality occur in tandem with stories of gang rape and then punitive destruction (Sodom & Gomorrah and then again with the Danites). Two further theoretical references occur in the Law, where we are told male-to-male sexual contact is reprehensible. But let’s remember the exceptions we have found to the rules, most recently in Ruth – where a marriage between two forbidden peoples occurred without retribution. This passage in 1 Samuel is the first time we hear about affectionate male interaction of any form, and there is absolutely no judgment laid upon either of them for their relationship. That much we know to be true. But everything else? We do not know. We just don’t. Who among us can claim to have witnessed this relationship, the ins and outs, the length and passion of their kisses, the existence of sex or not? I cannot. You cannot.

But I think the possibility of homosexuality sullies the reverence that most religious people hold for David. And on what basis? Is it because the Law says no to it? But the Law says no to things that good, Godly, Old Testament people ignore without punishment. So why is this different?

Because gay people are gross. Boys kissing boys is icky and different and makes people feel like their love is less realm, and I mean it. If there is no biblical basis (at this time) for reviling homosexuals, why does the possibility of it disgust certain people in such an unbelievable way? Ruth entered into an interracial marriage against the law, and no one cared. So here it is: We as a culture just think it’s revolting and weird. Welcome to the basis of homophobia.

I invited another friend to provide her thoughts on this issue, and I found her response quite succinct and beautiful. This is from Liane LeMaster, a compassionate scholar, writer, and friend:

My clearest, most visceral memory of King David, I’m sorry to admit, is the 1985 movie poster starring Richard Gere. His bearded American Gigolo head floats in the clouds above a faceless army with three spears and a vague Middle Eastern plateau. There’s a woman on the poster, smaller and in the background, yet a bright halo of light blooms between them. I wish this woman was Jonathan. Sorry, Micah. While the passages from Samuel reflect the complex, political machinations of serving God’s choice, what I want to see is not the rock star David, nor the manipulator, Saul: the story I’m interested in is Jonathan’s. He cedes his throne and warns David of danger multiple times. He’s the ultimate wing man. And his love is pure. Why can’t he be gay? I would hold Jonathan up as an example of real love. Real gay love. In all its purity and Biblical acceptance.

So let’s take a step back. Here we have a story of pure connection, a love without bounds. David and Jonathan acted to one another in a way that is uncommon today. Let’s learn something from that unbelievable loyalty. And don’t let the fact that it may have been more ruin your image of that love. As a friendship, it is astounding. As a relationship, it is equally astounding.

It is love. Either way.

Jonathan and David: The Case for Friendship

I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
    you were very dear to me.

2 Samuel 1:26a (NIV)

Let’s start this kerfuffle by digging into the exact interactions between David and Jonathan, and what this English version* literally states. There are four interactions between Jonathan and David to clue us into the nature of their relationship:

  1. After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” (1 Samuel 18:1) We do not know why, but David immediately feels a pull towards Jonathan. Briefly after meeting, Jonathan makes a covenant with David and then gifts him his robe, tunic, sword, bow, and belt. This behavior is certainly meant to prove to the reader the level of bond between these two gentlemen, however unjustified it may be. But nothing specifically indicates the nature of their bond. Here, we merely learn that they are very, very close.
  1. Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David and warned him…” (1 Samuel 19: 1-2a) The acts of kindness heat up when Jonathan jumps in to protect David from his father. At this point, Saul begins to feel extreme jealousy towards David, particularly in the praise he received for defeating Goliath. But Jonathan reminds his father of the good of this man, how he has done nothing worthy of death, and reestablishes David’s servant-like nature. Saul agrees to spare his life, though quickly reneges and attempts murder. The act of defending an outsider to your father is certainly a potent one – one that further exemplifies the extreme fondness Jonathan holds for David. This may be fairly normal in a modern setting, but in ancient Israel, with bloodlines and inheritors at stake, this raises an eyebrow. But still, nothing romantic or sexual directly implied. They could just be best buds.
  1. Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, ‘You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you?’” (1 Samuel 20:30) David fears for his life and confides in his friend. Having just protected David, Jonathan now appears to come to the defense of his father – he says that he knows David will not die, because Saul has made no indication that he will actually go through with the act. So they devise a test… David will hide and Jonathan will explain away his absence accordingly – if Saul becomes angry, he will try to kill, and if not, all is clear. But when told, Saul throws a completely irrational fit, throwing a spear at his own flesh and blood son, shouting about his perverse and rebellious nature. Many liberal commentators point to this argument as a clincher… Why would Saul exhibit such rage, and then refer to his son as “perverse?” At first glance, this does appear strange, and even reminiscent of many parents’ reactions to their children coming out of the closet. But let’s remember that in this time period, the mere act of a son betraying his father for an outsider is “rebellious” and “perverse.” They do not need to be lovers to elicit such a negative reaction. This could be mere disappointment over his son’s new loyalties.
  1. “…Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.” (1 Samuel 20:41b) The tearful goodbye is certainly the most powerful evidence for a “more-than-friends” argument, particularly in the description that “they kissed each other and wept together.” From this, we can certainly glean that this is a profoundly sad moment between David and Jonathan (and not-so-incidentally, the last time they will ever see one another), but I am not ready to definitively say it is sexual. I have friends that kiss me, even on the lips, when we say goodbye to one another, and no one looks weirdly upon this – particularly because they assume I am gay, and that it is completely nonsexual. In our culture, two men who would kiss goodbye would immediately be labeled GAAAAY, even if there is no sexual interest. Some assume I have no attraction to women, and thus I can kiss women whenever I want without repercussion (noooot true). So then, by the same token, why can’t two men kiss goodbye who have no sexual attraction to one another? I argue that they could, while acknowledging that it may not be true in this particular case.

So I can certainly understand the pro-friendship argument, particularly in the English reading of the text. I asked a friend of mine (and reader of this blog) to comment on it. Her name is Bri Dupree, and she is a revolutionary blogger (Echoes of Grey), pastor, and friend. She told me this story to exemplify her viewpoint.

I met with a friend of mine to catch up. We’ll call him Dave. Dave and I had started working in churches and wanted to talk life and ministry. I’ll fast forward to about 20 minutes into our conversation when he told me that he was gay. He had experimented in college and chosen celibacy (it is his belief that this is the only way to please God). But he went on to tell me that all he really wanted was intimacy. Not even sex, really, just a close friendship with another guy. If you’re not familiar with the Christian college scene, it is not uncommon to walk into a room and see girls cuddling watching a movie together or see two girls holding hands skipping down the sidewalk. And they’re straight (well, some of them). Dave expressed that he longed for this type of intimacy with a guy without being labeled ‘gay’ or ‘queer’. He didn’t want the label, he wanted the relationship. This desire is what caused him to pursue other guys.

He brought up David and Jonathan and how close they were. Dave was looking for that type of friendship. I hadn’t read the story in a while, so I went back and read about David and Jonathan’s relationship. I was surprised by the strong language used to describe their affection for one another. 1 Samuel 20:17 says, “And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.” He loved him as he loved his own soul. That is beautiful. Simply beautiful. So what does this mean? Were Jonathan and David more than friends? I don’t think so. But then again, I don’t know.

I forgot to mention something…I’m a pastor. I’m currently in seminary. I graduated from a Christian college. And church has been apart of my life from day one. So I know how to explain away the perceived intimacy between Jonathan and David. Type their names into Google and you’ll find folks on ‘both sides’ of this issue who are way smarter than me who can give you a more effective explanation.

But I want to focus on Dave’s story. Perhaps we’re all just trying to find intimacy. And you can’t explain that feeling away. I believe the Bible (most of the time). So I guess we’ll have to keep wrestling as we continue to read. Let’s not forget our humanity in the process. Jonathan and David didn’t.

I just love this story. So here we have Dave, a guy who struggles with the moralistic nature of homosexuality while still admitting his desire for intimacy. Yes, David and Jonathan had an intimate, passionate relationship. Who cares if it was physical? And why does the mere thought of it being sexual somehow sully our image of them?

Because – ! Wait. I’ll save that discussion for…

Tomorrow, let’s take the opposite viewpoint, and argue why David and Jonathan had an icky, heathen, gay relationship.

And be sure to check out Bri Dupree’s blog Echoes of Grey for more thoughtful reflections on tough biblical issues.

*Important Note: As I have stated before, I am reading these from a surface level, meaning that I do not look into the original languages that these passages were composed in. Having said that, there is a great deal written about the original texts and how they may indicate the nature of David and Jonathan’s relationship. That is not my expertise, however, so I will leave those arguments to others.