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Ep 7 Faith and Fidelity
In this episode of Consenting Adults, host Leyna Nguyen chats with someone you may not expect to be on this podcast. Does Non-monogamy fit into Christianity? If you're not hurting anyone, why is it not ok? Best selling author Keith Giles, and ordained minister, has controversial views on these topics.
EP 7 – Faith and Fidelity
Leyna: Hi everyone, it is another week and another episode of consenting adults. Last week, I did an interview for stuttering John remember him from the Howard Stern Show. John Melendez from the Tonight Show, and man, he asked some personal questions. And he told me some sex stories that made me cover my ears I had it your mouth myself. So if you didn't see that and would like to you can look him up on YouTube. Now John has some haters and some trolls out there, which is totally normal for anyone in the public eye that happens. And I want to actually welcome them as as new fans of this podcast, and one of them in particular tweeted this to me, and it sounds awful. But breadline Brendan said hi Lena, I just saw you on stuttering John's terrible podcast. He sucks and is a total backstabbing liar, But you are amazing, so beautiful and fun. You have a new fan here. Wow. Thank you. I thought John was nice. He was very funny, we had a good conversation. Also there's another person who created an account on Twitter just to troll stuttering John, he goes by, Johnsboneyarms, and he is also now following us and listening to consenting adults so welcome. And you know what I really love is the fact that they can't stand stuttering John, but they kind of Don't lump me in that hatred that they have for this man. And they're now followers so that's awesome, and it's also what this episode is about. It's about judging people, particularly in religious circles. My guest today, I would call a man of God, a lover and follower of Jesus Christ, who was at one point in his life, addicted to porn. And the reason why I'm talking to him is because, trust me, there are people in your church, if you go to church or temple, whatever, who are taking part in lifestyle activities, you just don't know about it. And the reason you don't know about it is because they're keeping it a secret and the reason they're keeping it a secret, is because it's frowned upon by the religious community,
the polyamory issue, and the open and swinging issue is that's a new frontier, you know, the Christian church honestly is still just beginning to wrestle with the homosexuality and trans conversations. so let's get to it.
(Podcast Show Open)
Leyna: We've got a special guest today, not that the rest aren't special but he's special in the fact that he may be the only guest on consenting adults to not consent to any of the activities that we talk about on this show. Is he celibate. No. Is he a prude. No, he's just Christian. That was a joke. KEITH That's.
Guest: Thank you.
Leyna: I say that because I know he's a good sport Keith Giles is the best selling author of the Jesus on series. You've got to check them out, we'll learn where we can find him a little bit later. He's been on CNN, USA Today BuzzFeed. He is an ordained minister through the Southern Baptist Church, however, he is no longer Baptist, what are you these days.
Guest: Well, I think I just would say I'm somebody who really is fascinated with Jesus, and I'm trying to kind of put his teachings into practice as much as I can in my daily life.
Leyna: So, now you used to live in Southern California, what did you do here and where are you now,
Guest: right yeah so about 25 years I lived in my wife and I lived in Southern California, and one of the things we did most significantly, there was, we started a little house church where people just met in homes, and we took all the offering because we had no expenses, and this was our passion so we were able to give 100% Of all the offerings, we were seeing him to help families in need living in Orange County in Santa Ana, California, and also work with the homeless, like there was a there was a tent city around Anaheim stadium. A few blocks from my house, that we also served there and it was just awesome. I loved it. It was really a wonderful experience.
Leyna: In fact that's how Keith and I know each other or at least I know of Keith was seeing the great work that he was doing. And I really admired that I also admire the fact that you are a Christian, you, I would say know your stuff, and yet you will approach it in such a way that non Christians or atheists, or people who love to fight can respect and can I would say you're not judgmental, if I try not to be I love that about you. Thank you, even though you don't agree with, with a lot of the stuff that's out there, and a lot of the stuff that we talk about on this show so let's get right to it shall we. I talked to a lot of people on this show, who tell me they were Christian are now atheist or they've kind of moved away from the church because they are now living this alternative lifestyle, it makes them happy, but it doesn't agree with the Church's teachings. So I want to talk to you about that. One of the podcasts that you did talk about pornography and your personal experience with it, can you tell us about that first.
Guest: Yeah sure, and I would just say, before I get into it like my experience under I understand is not everybody else's experience but yeah when I was in like high school and college years, I did struggle with pornography, and for me it became an addiction. So I would say I'm the same way. Or for example, you know, I don't have any problem with alcohol, I drink alcohol, and I don't have an addiction to it and I you know it's not something that's ruined my life. And so for me to have a couple of drinks a glass of wine is something that I want again is no big deal, because for me it's not a weakness, it's not an addiction, but for me pornography was, and I say it that way because I understand that as I'm telling you that I struggle with pornography and it's something that I have that kind of relationship with I understand others don't. And so I'm not saying well because Keith has a problem with addiction to pornography. Therefore, the rest of us should avoid it. I'm just saying that I personally did have a struggle with it, it was something in my life that I had to break free from. And so I guess because of that it does affect the way I look at it and the way I respond to pornography. And what are your thoughts on pornography. I think my concern would be, as a Christian, or as a follower of Jesus is the pornography that we're consuming whether that's his nowadays it's mostly online, or the people that were watching in the in this pornography, Are they being trafficked, are they being oppressed in some way. In other words, is there. I'm taking pleasure from something. But maybe, at the expense of someone else's suffering. That's one of the my major concerns is because a lot of the pornography industry, there is that kind of thing going on, and so for me that's one of the most. That's probably the one of the first things that concerns me about it.
Leyna; I'm sure that you know and even for people who don't watch pornography know that there is a lot out there, and more and more these days a lot of it is like amateur stuff people are posting stuff about themselves out there. Okay, yeah, so let's for a moment, put aside the issue of, or the people you're watching on the screen. Doing this willingly. Right. Okay, so let's push that aside for one moment and talk about the pleasure people get from watching pornography and Christianity. Now, I'm not a Christian, I have always had great interest in world religions, studied it was actually not surprised to find that there are many similarities and all of the religions because I think that at the root of it. Almost all religions teach you to do good, right, right, right, and I love that about religion. Now when you get into all the other stuff the organized religion and all the cants and don'ts and Nevers, that's where I started having a problem with it but is pornography allowed as a Christian, Are you allowed to enjoy pornography?
Guest: We, kind of like what you just said, I'm also someone who I tend to shy away from being someone who says, Here's a new law to follow right here's a new rule and you must follow this rule, because I don't think that's really what Jesus is about. But I do think what it is about and I feel like what Jesus specifically encourages us to do is to ask questions about ourselves and to ask ourselves certain questions about like, is this something that's healthy. Is this something that's good is this something that is harmful to another person, pornography and I think with many other things we could, this could apply to many other things. We all have to individually, make up our own minds, in other words we have to decide, okay, I've spent time thinking about this, maybe I prayed about this I've, you know I have to be open to the possibility that maybe I'll change my mind. Maybe I'm not my assumptions aren't correct, I'm willing to be convinced one way or the other. So I'm going to start from that place. And then I think if we honestly, engage with these questions and again we all have to do this individually we ultimately have to arrive at a place where we feel like, okay, this is what I feel like is true and correct this is what I think is healthy and good, and because I've thought it through and considered it, I'm going to do this. Personally I think that's actually a good thing I think that's actually what we're encouraged to do, if we are human beings who are concerned about spirituality are concerned about ethics and morality and all these things that are wrapped up in religion and theology and things like that. and I think we have to be willing to wrestle with those kinds of questions and so I don't think there's a I'm sorry, Lane appealing, we're gonna go like, here's what you should do. And here's why I'm not I really don't feel comfortable doing that but I but I would say, I would encourage everyone to take these kinds of questions. Seriously, and to prayerfully consider, you know, again, is this something that's good for myself, is this something that's good for others. And can I practice this or use this or consume this in a way that isn't harmful to me that isn't harmful to someone else.
Leyna: Ok, so then let's take that argument, and see if we can apply it to things that I think are widely frowned upon by the church and when I say the church, you know you know what I'm talking about right I'm not talking about any specific religion or any specific church but you know we're just talking about, let's just say, Christianity, Right, let's try to apply that to these other things like polyamory, right, or open marriages or swinging. I mean all of these alternative lifestyles that on face value, go against Christian values.
Guest: Yes. Now, here this is actually probably one of the most fun parts of the conversation. You're correct, Christianity, the sort of the capital C, and the church with a capital C does officially have a position that they frown upon things like polyamory and polygamy and these sorts of things, but I find fascinating though is that they really have no biblical or Scriptural support for that view. Christians in general, are all about what it says in the Bible always want to say, we want to biblical this and a biblical that and there's you know is this biblical was That's not biblical. I think the challenge is, is that if you go and look at the Bible and what the Bible has how the Bible defines of marriage, or sexual relationships, but even specifically marriage I mean what you see is these are things that God does not frown upon does not condemn and that's like marrying a woman and marrying that woman sister, or having, you know, dozens or even hundreds of wives at a time. You know, or even insists I mean, the law, these things are happening in the Bible, and are not condemned by God, God doesn't say Thou shalt not. And so, I find the kind of how
Leyna: Wait a second, wait a second. Isn't there something about coveting thy neighbor's wife.
Guest: Oh yeah, well there you go. Of course yes I shouldn't want my neighbor's wife. But if I want to have 10 wives or again if I want to marry a whole family of the same sisters, that's totally fine because those things happened and. Leyna: But what if the neighbors okay with it.
Guest: Well there you go, I guess, I guess it doesn't talk about that does, it doesn't say, you know, if your wife wants to do that.
Leyna: Well, but, so, so then, as with everything, it's a matter of interpretation, right,
Guest: of course, I think that and again that's people have made careers out of arguing well what does the Scripture say but what does it mean and what was the original intent and blah blah blah. But you also have to understand that a lot of the things like you and I are going to talk about right now. These are, these are concepts that ancient peoples were talking very primitive and ancient peoples 6000 years ago 4000 years ago for the Old Covenant scriptures or 2000 years ago for the Christian New Testament scriptures. We have to put ourselves in the mindset of someone living at that time period, and, and you and I are asking questions they were not asking, we are experiencing things in our culture and society. They were not experiencing things that were not even in their minds. And so that that's part of what makes it very challenging and difficult for us today, you know, four to six, four to 2000 years later, to try and use these writings and these ways of thinking and seeing, and apply them to us today. Like, that's part of what makes this very, very difficult.
Leyna: Ok so really what you're talking about Christianity, getting with the times. Would that be fair to say,
Guest: I think so, yes, I am because, because, you know, even on issues like slavery that Christian Church unfortunately has a pretty bad track record for reconciling what's, what the Scriptures have to say about these topics versus what. In modern times, we could say you know if we change our minds on this issue and maybe we need to adjust what we think is good or acceptable.
Leyna: ok, so then let's talk about homosexuality. Now there is a topic that, of course, people have been, you know, fighting about that for a very long time.
Guest: I think we've made great strides in the Christian community as far as affirming homosexuals when you say,
as compared to the past, yes. Recently we've done, I think, very very well but we've got a very long way to go.
Leyna: Of course, I've talked to guests on this show, who, as soon as I asked him if they're religious, the first thing they do is laugh. Right. And there's always, you know, always a story behind that laugh a lot of these people grew up in a Catholic household. Okay, and felt bad felt like something was wrong with them felt dirty felt, whatever, because of these personal tendencies that they had that didn't agree with, with what they were taught right so then now they've moved away from religion. So we've gone this far, but you're right we have a lot further to go with Christianity and LGBTQ issues. Yes. But when we're talking about stuff like, you know, swinging like married couples having sex with other people and open marriages where yeah your husband or your wife can go out and sleep with people without you there, and polyamory where it's not just about sex, it's actually about love and all of this stuff. Why is it that it is still so very frowned upon. I mean it is not an open issue is it
Guest: right I mean that's probably the the polyamory issue in the open and swinging issue is that's a new frontier, I mean I don't, I don't know. You know the Christian church honestly is still just beginning to wrestle with the homosexuality and trans conversation and again, slowly coming along and not doing very well in that area and I just want to say, I gotta say this before we move on to the to the deeper into the polyamory conversation but for my Christian friends who do wrestle with this idea of whether or not it's okay to be gay or whether you know, being trans or something like that. I have to point out, and then this gets me into trouble, but I'm just, I have to be honest about this and this is the this is the this is documented you can verify it is not my opinion, the E. There are no English translations of the scriptures that contain the word homosexual until 1946. So this idea that, again, the problem is that we have Christians today who have a Bible in their possession, they were able to flip it open and put their finger on the verse and say right here, the Bible condemns homosexuality, there it is I can read it to you. You're right, it does say that in your English translation, but it didn't say that until 1946 which means it got changed and it did not get changed, because there was some better scholarship or better understanding of what what does that word actually mean it literally was just arbitrarily changed to was specifically to just attack people who are homosexual before 1946 and go back to the King James, which was translated, you know, a long before that. And when it comes to those same verses in the in the Bible, it doesn't say homosexuals, it'll say, someone who practices pedophilia. So it's a condemnation of pedophilia, it's not a condemnation of homosexuality, and again this is part of why it's so difficult for anyone confusing for Christians to have a conversation about that kind of topic because we our own Bibles are being honest with us and then we have churches then using that a weaponizing that to convince us that Well, the Bible says, But the Bible doesn't say that and and a lot of what we were going to talk about we're going to see it recognizes that for many Christians the Bible is the problem we are we are so biblically focused I think that we can't back up and see, is this something What would Jesus, think about it, and that's a different conversation.
Leyna: Here is a question from a follower on Twitter, and it's what guides you in your Christianity, the Bible, or your church. And I think that goes to talking about what you just said. Right. It's you using right using the written word, the Bible to guide you, you know on your journey. I think some people actually do it very well I've heard a lot of speakers talk about it and makes a lot of sense to me. And then I've heard other people point to stuff, and apply it to their beliefs as proof, right. And I'm not I'm not wanting to talk because I'm not Christian, right, but I just find it very hypocritical, that if you're teaching love and being inclusive and not hurting people, that if you've got two consenting adults who want to do things, and it's with everyone's consent and they're not hurting anybody, right, why shouldn't they do that without the guilt that they feel from from their, you know, Christian upbringing, right how do they how do they get around that case, I mean, yeah, well, why do you have to leave the church, you don't have to leave the church right
Guest: yeah well you may have to leave a particular church if you if you attend a particular church that is very condemning and is heaping shame and guilt upon you, which by the way, it's hard to find a Christian church that isn't doing that. That's one of the main things that Christian Church uses to control people and manipulate them I'm sorry to say, and the Bible unfortunately helps with that. But you know you don't have to leave your faith, let's just put it this way you don't have to. You don't have to leave God behind you don't have to leave Jesus behind. This is what I encourage people all the time is what the Bible, here's what we need to understand, and this is going to be sound controversial to some especially to some Christians but I just want us to understand this, even as Christians we have to admit this. God didn't write the Bible, we did. People wrote the Bible. And they said, God said, but again they said that in their context of how they understood God and and a culture in the Middle East 4000 years ago or 2000 years ago, that doesn't mean that what they said was valuable, that there's no wisdom there for us. There is, but we have to recognize that again we don't worship we shouldn't we don't worship a book, where in fact that book if it does anything is points us to a connection and a relationship with God. That is real, and active and vibrant in our actual life. So, as as an analogy, the Bible is a map. It's not the treasure and many Christians today treat the Bible as if it's the treasure, but it's not it's pointing us to the treasure the treasure is again that connection with God, a connection with Christ. That is real and living and vibrant that I can hear His voice, I can connect with him, I can hear from him. It's a spiritual mystical experience that's what the Bible points us to, It's a menu. The purpose of the menu is so that you can enjoy a really good meal. But if you start trying to eat that menu, you start trying to menu is the meal, you it's not very nutritious, it's not going to help you.
Leyna: Now you're talking to my language when you're talking food here.
Guest: You are your man, you kill me. Oh my gosh.
LEyna: This is what I love about you because I love that message. And I love it even more when I know that you don't quotation air quotation marks here, you don't get polyamory. Right, you don't. Yeah, you don't understand now you and your wife Wendy have been married how long
Guest: it'll be 31 years and an October.
Leyna: That's a long time.
Guest: Yeah, and I have a friend. I won't say his name but I have a friend who is a follower of Jesus I love him, respect him I've even quoted him in my book several times I, I love him so much, and respect him so much. But he and his wife have a polyamory relationship. And so we invited other people into their loving marriage. Again, I love him and respect him. But I don't understand it. I don't get it. But I don't reject my friend. It's one of these things where they're not hurting anyone else, and he and his wife are in agreement on this decision, this is what they want to do in their marriage, they they maintain that it's been wonderful for their relationship. And so, again, I don't understand it but I'm not going to condemn it.
Leyna: It sounds great to be able to say, find another church, if you feel like your church would condemn you for your choices. That's easy to say, not easy to do, right, because if you think about the investment that people put in their church and I'm not talking financial I'm talking about, you know, maybe growing up and with the same congregation and knowing and having close friends. Yes, it's, it's not easy to then just leave. What advice would you give to people who don't want to leave the congregation, don't want to leave the friends and whoever they're close to, but at the same time like everyone else want to feel okay about the lifestyle that they live, and want to continue on their journey in Christianity.
Guest: Right. Well, yes, this is something I run into quite a bit, people who either because of changes in their theology or the ways that they believe about God or the Bible, etc, or even like we're saying here on this, maybe their, their sexuality that they end up in a conflict with a church that they grew up in of a church home that they have right now. Quite often, those don't work out. I'm sad to say, it's very rare that once that becomes public, and there becomes an argument or disagreement with the pastor or the leader of that church, it usually ends with the person either being asked to leave, or just being so uncomfortable that they just feel like I can't continue to be a part of this fellowship anymore and it's very painful. And I sympathize with that, again I what I do what I've been doing. I have a couple of responses to that so one of them is, I think on one level, if you, if that's happened to you or if it's in the process of happening to you, to recognize that it's possible to create a new community, I think we are people that are wired for community we need other people, even in our spiritual development and growth. And so it's possible and I would encourage you to do this to find other people who have a spirituality have a connection with God that is similar to your own. But, where, where unity in that fellowship in that in that group isn't based on agreement on everything, but it's simply based on loving learning to love one another. I mean, essentially we can boil Jesus teachings down to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbors yourself. And if you can find a, maybe you have to create a community like that I mean I've helped people create small groups that meet at homes, and you know it's five or 10 people, but they agree on those things they agree on the two main things they want to do with their life they want to learn how to love God, and learn to learn to receive love from God, and they want to learn how to love one another and receive love from one another. And in a genuine friendships and, you know, connections, and I think that's possible. I've seen it happen again I've helped people to do that that's one of the main things I would say. And then, just real quickly. If someone has specific struggles I mean this is really hard for you, you're in isolation, you don't know anybody in your zip code, that feels this way and thinks this way and you really need help with that. I actually have a course called square one, which I've been here. It's a 90 day course I've been helping people, dozens of people go through step by step over a 90 day period where I walk with you through this whole process. I connect you with other people online who are just like you are going through similar things you're going through. And it's been wonderful. I mean, it's been one of the most life giving things I've done in the last few years, it's just been amazing so I would invite people if they're curious about that, look into that as well.
Leyna: Nice. All right, I want to explore this. This thing where you don't get polyamory. Okay, I'm sure you've heard the arguments or the explanations, right, it's like you have children, right, right, you love them equally. Yes, and when I'm saying equally I'm not talking more or less, it's just that you and everyone loves people differently. Yes, right, of course, yes. What is it about a romantic love, that you don't believe you can love more than one person.
Guest: Right, I mean, I would, I totally acknowledge and agree with the idea that yes of course it's possible to love. And I do love I mean, it's not as if there aren't any. I don't have any female friends that I dearly love but I love them and it's sort of a sisterly way. Now, again, this is who I am and how I'm wired. And so for me I mean yeah I agree I experience wonderful loving relationships with, with male and female friends of mine, and I love them dearly again like someone in my own family I would die for them I would do anything I could to help them. It just not it's not something that is expressed in a, you know, physical, sexual way polyamory needs to be something before a couple enters into it that both couples really truly are okay with it and it's something they both want. I think if one member of one spouse, really, really wants it and the other one just sort of going along with it, to please their spouse. I think that it's probably not going to work long term, I think both sides need to be really into it because if you're not, obviously there's going to be some resentment, there's going to be jealousy, it's going to end up dissolving the marriage I think that, that'd be my concern, anyway. So I would just urge married couples before they get into something like that, again, talk about it a lot, but really unpack it before you do it make sure, truly, honestly, both sides are really okay and not interest okay but like really excited about like you know what, this sounds amazing. Let's really do this.
Leyna: So that's polyamory and I actually think that it is probably easier to make the argument in Christianity that there's love there, Right, there's, there's emotion there's caring, there's you know making sure that I was okay. How about the other stuff. How about the, you know, the wife swapping the swinging the stuff that is just purely physical sexual stuff. I think that people who do that also have a big problem with being authentic and still being a Christian.
Guest: Yeah, there's sort of two things I guess we can address one of them is, can you do those things and still maintain your faith when I would say it's just the connection with God and our connection with Christ, I would say absolutely. And I would encourage people when they have anything when there's theological or maybe, in this case sort of different practices that they're involved in. When they recognize that well, my, my pastor wouldn't be happy with my priest wouldn't be happy with this my I've been told that the Bible condemns everything that I'm who either who I am in my identity or the ways that I've been wanting to behave to recognize that, like, the church isn't God, the Bible isn't God right so if you if you feel rejected by those things, the scriptures or by God or by your church. That doesn't mean you're protected by God. We just want to put that out there and so people often have that reaction they feel like well if my church rejects it, then it's all or nothing. If I'm going to do something that my church condemns or doesn't like. Then I have to just throw it all out, I can't, I can't be a good Christian and I can't have a relationship with God, and I would say that is not true. You can leave a church, but you've left the organization you have not left God God hasn't left you put it that way.
Leyna: After hearing you talk about your views on this. I would love people to be able to find you, you know, read your work and maybe get in contact with you. Also I think that there may be some like Christian swingers out there I don't put it past anybody and I'm going to find them and I'm going to get them on the show. But in the meantime, how do people find Keith Giles?
Guest: Oh yeah so I have a blog, over on happiness and I blog pretty regularly and you can find that it's just my name, Keithgiles.com. I'm also on Facebook and Twitter and I'm very active in both of those platforms, and my podcast is heretic happy hour, you can find that on anywhere as I said podcasts are available. My books and the Jesus Un series, those are all available on Amazon, print, Kindle and audio, and yeah, I'd love to hear anybody who has any questions or follow up. I'm happy to interact with people.
Leyna: One thing about his podcast when you look it up, you might see that it is explicit. And then you look at your watch is like, you're talking about Christianity and it's marked explicit. I'm not even going to tell you why I think you just need to click on it and listen, and you will find out why. I think it's incredibly refreshing. I love that you have more than one host, I love that you disagree with each other. And I also love that you respect each other, and I think at the end of the day, if you can disagree with someone, and still show them respect, then you are a better person than most, and Keith Giles you're one of those people so thanks for being on the show.
Guest: Well thank you so much. It's an honor.
Leyna: Okay so totally vanilla show right, like no one swore. No one described any sexual acts. Let's get things back to normal. Next time on consenting adults successful husband and wife business owners, locked down, because of COVID, do something. No one would ever suspect you went and created a Twitter account. What did you do with this Twitter account,
we figured, you know, it's just something to look at maybe be voyeurs watch other people see what they're doing. And then, it didn't take very long at all before we were just creating and posting full blown porn ourselves.
Leyna: That's next time on Consent Adults.
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