Before commenting on this post, I took the opportunity to learn more about Emily Thomas, the OP.
She is a former lesbian’ who, as a youth, scandalised her family by pushing her parents’ boundaries. In other words, she was like nearly every “normal” teen who has ever lived since the dawn of time.
She described a life into her 20s of sleeping around and using mild drugs although she had, of course, mellowed by age 22. Absolutely none of this is shocking, except that she has exchanged teenaged angst for the badge of Chief Among Sinners.
The following is an excerpt from her article, “The Girl in the Picture”:
This realization was like being struck by lightning. I searched for verses on homosexuality and found 1 Corinthians 6:910. I’d read these and other verses like them before. I’d argued against them to those who opposed me, but suddenly I could no longer argue. It was clear. I was in the “will not enter the kingdom of God” lineup. I was lost, wretched, and blatantly opposed to him. But the next verse said, “And such were some of you” (1 Cor. 6:11). Clearly, the Lord could save me. He’d extended his hand to me, the worst of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15).
Before I continue, here, I must point out that I Timothy was written by the former Saul of Tarsus probably a Pharisee when he was younger, and a notorious persecutor and murderer who targeted members of the new Jewish sect they became the Christians for destruction.
Such was his notoriety among the new Believers that no one from the community he initially approached in the Book of Acts would go anywhere near the man out of fear (Acts 9:26).
Before his conversion experience, Saul was not in line to become the Girl in the Picture’ but rather he was in line to end up among the Dybbukim. (I know, Spuki; Pauline Christianity is but one flavour
and I don’t know that he ever claimed to be a perfect or even a good man.)
My point: Saul of Tarsus would have had to be 30 years old to become a rabbi and likely far older than that to become powerful enough that acts of persecution against the new sect could be attributed directly to him.
He claimed he was chief among sinners because, in that community, he almost assuredly was.
If not for his attempts to correct himself as well as to make whatever reparations he could to the community he had once devoted himself to destroying, Saul the Dybbuk might have ended up still around and with just enough anima left to care about (a) the people closest, (b) that no one else follows in bad footsteps, and (c) that if there were some way to prevent suffering among others (for the common sake of humanity), that creature would pursue it. (This is assuming of course that such a being doesn’t glory in its shame, as some do.)
Whenever I see anybody for example, Ms. Thomas describing themselves the way Paul did, they’d “better” have more in their background to be ashamed of than underage drinking, smoking weed, and sleeping with other women.
You may not believe in an afterlife of any sort, but please do believe me when I say this: One has to fuck up pretty bad, theoretically of course, to end up among the dybbukim. It is not a thing anyone, anywhere, ever, under any circumstances, wants to be
not even the rotten ones that are happy in their shame.
Now back to Ms. Thomas:
Two weeks later, a friend (also a lesbian) ~ DING ~ waited for me at my apartment after work to smoke marijuana ~ DING ~ and hang out as usual ~ DING? ~. After we smoked, I asked her, “What if they’re right?” She knew I was doing the study and understood immediately what I meant and said, “I don’t want to talk about it.” I pushed further. “We have to. If this is true, we need to talk now and not later.” She left soon after, so I picked up my book and read.
(Yes, of course the DINGs were my additions.)
Come for the pot; stay for the sermon. Gawd, her lesbian pot-smoking friend didn’t have to be so rude. She could have crouched over the study until she realised that she, too, was Chief Among Sinners. But there can only be one an argument between the two that, if it took place in an inflatable pool full of jelly, would have been really interesting to watch.
and, really, this is as far as I care to go with her
That evening, I read a chapter describing a “salad bar religion,” where you pick and choose parts of different religions, combine them into one, and call that your belief system. The book made clear that such an approach isn’t following Jesus at all; that’s following yourself and calling it some other name.
There are some 33 000 sects of Christianity out there. Even when the religion was new, there were arguments between Paul’s ideas and Peter’s that can be followed through part of the Christian Bible.
Every single person alive has a unique take on spirituality. That comes of being an individual rather than a worker ant.
When a religious organisation does more than try to standardise their doctrine when they attempt to ensure each member is on-point to such a degree that everyone believes the same things and only the same things you are no longer dealing with just another church or fellowship of like-minded Believers; you’re dealing with a dangerously dysfunctional religious group best described as a cult.
Cults, be they religious or political or other, are not good for their members. Leaders are almost always self-serving ideologues living off the largesse of core followers. Followers. Not equals. Not individuals. Followers.
Ms. Thomas says later in the article she still struggles’ with same-sex attraction - almost certainly because she is, in fact, a lesbian. Not “was”; is.
The OP from her Facebook is typical of those who share her adopted mindset: If people disagree with how her elders interpret the Bible, they are worse than merely wrong. They must be; no question because “the devil” encourages any questioning of The Faith. (It never seems to occur to these people that if a separate, living evil exists and has as its ultimate goal a desire to destroy humanity, it would want the people who unwittingly work for it to shut up and just follow orders.)
And so Ms. Thomas does as she’s bid
thinks as she’s bid
and fears questions, as she's bid.