Oprah: Because maybe when you made the decision to give up that job, that was the right step then. And now you're in another space. And now you need to make another choice because you're feeling your feeling, your inner voice is saying, "This doesn't quite feel this is the right thing for me anymore." and now you make another step. I was going to add that what I believe God wants for us is the abundance that he's given us on earth. And so a lot of times people think, "Oh, I have to give up all the stuff. I don't think you do if the stuff doesn't define you.

Michael: Right.

The Rev. Bacon: Right.

Oprah: You know? I think all the stuff and having a good paying job, obviously I have one— (laughter)—can work—can work for you and with you if you are not defined by it. You see what I'm saying?

Robin: Yes.

Oprah: Yeah.

Robin: Thank you so much. Thank you very much.

Oprah: Okay. Glad that helped you. Thank you. There was one particular comment from our panel last week that launched a very hot debate on our message boards.

The Rev. Bacon: Really? What was that?

Oprah: Can you imagine what that was?

Michael: Something about—I don't know.

Elizabeth: Oh.

Oprah: I can't imagine what that was. Take a look. Take a look. Good gracious.

Michael: You know they showed this on the news.

Oprah: Did they?

Michael: Bill O'Reilly.

Oprah: Oh, really. Oh, my goodness. Was it—

Michael: He said, "No comment."

Oprah: No comment. Oh, I'm sure we did—

The Rev. Bacon (in clip): Being gay is a gift from God. But our culture doesn't understand that. And consequently, the culture sends messages that you ought to isolate. And isolation is the antithesis of what all of us need.

Oprah (in clip): Well, you are the first minister I ever heard say being gay is a gift from God, I can tell you that.

Michael (in clip): Now you'll hear two.

Oprah (in clip): Now you'll hear two. Okay.

Michael (in clip): Now you'll hear two. And that has nothing to do—

Oprah(in clip): You are the first two ministers I ever heard say being gay is a gift from God. (Live) John from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is on the phone. Hi, John.

John: Hi, Oprah. How are you tonight?

Oprah: Okay, go for it.

John: Good. I'm glad to be talking with you and everyone else. The question that I have as I'm going through this spiritual reevaluation myself is if you're accepting the Bible as a Christian as the rule of God in your life, I guess how do you come to terms with being able to condone homosexuality and the lesbian lifestyle and yet not feel like you're betraying your beliefs?

Oprah: Hmm. Good question.  

The Rev. Bacon: John, I'm so excited about your life because it's so clear that you're on a journey. You're asking the question about what are the—what are the authorities of my life? And I bet you that the Bible is not the only authority in your life. I don't know anyone, even the—even the most literalist Bible thumpers, who really listen to the Bible only. All of us bring in different authorities of our life, and one of the authorities of our lives has to be our inner voice and our true self. Jesus himself gracefully set aside parts of the Bible. In the Sermon On the Mount, he said, "You have heard it said, 'Love your neighbor, but hate your enemy.' But I say to you—you have heard it said, 'An eye for an eye.' But I say—." Even Jesus had to set aside parts of the scripture when they were not in alignment with the compassionate God he knew.

Michael: Mm-hmm.

The Rev. Bacon: And that's what's going on with you right now. You are squaring the way you use the Bible and other authorities with what you are discovering in the depths of your heart about the real God of compassion and the God who loves all.

John: Right.

The Rev. Bacon: I'm with you, my friend.

John: Right. And it's been an interesting journey. I kind of share a little bit of the affinity with Oprah in that I think we both came from backgrounds that were—at least my background was very rigid. It was very Pentecostal to begin with.

Oprah: Southern Baptist. Southern Baptist, yeah.

John: And then I went into the charismatic churches, and then there were some things I won't get into that kind of turned me off to Christianity and church for many, many years. And actually it was about four years ago, Oprah, one of your very good friends, Dr. Wayne Dyer, it was some of his teaching that was the catalyst for getting me back involved in spirituality and searching a path for God. There were some things that I was taught that I'm still very solid on, and then there are other things that I kind of go, hmm, you know, about. And—and so part of the reason for this question from my perspective is that I think there's a lot of Christian people that follow the Christian path out there that are struggling with, you know, being accepting. And my wife and I have had—over the last few years we've actually had two couples that were lesbian friends of ours and they were great, great people. And I don't doubt that they came into our life, you know, for a purpose to teach me some lessons.

The Rev. Bacon: Oh, wow.

John: And at the same time, I think that a lot of Christians are struggling with maybe some old line thinking of, "Well, we've got to feel, you know, absolutely judgmental. It has to be this way." And unfortunately, I'm seeing that same attitude on the other side of the aisle, too, in the homosexual community. Not in all sections, you understand, but in some sections. And what I want to be a part of is bringing peace to all this.

Oprah: That's a— that's a beautiful thing you just said, John.

The Rev. Bacon: Yes.

Oprah: And I think that something the Rev. Bacon said on a show I did Monday is that you've got to, in your own heart, decide whether you're going to serve the God of compassion or you're going to serve the God of judgment and condemnation.

Michael: Absolutely.

Oprah: Is that— what do you want to say, Michael? Rev. Michael.


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