Gregory Hoenes: Food, Ecology, and Spirituality — Adventist Voices

On this episode of the Adventist Voices podcast, Elder Gregory L. Hoenes, PhD, director of the West Region of the Southern California Conference, talks about his recently completed dissertation in practical theology at Claremont School of Theology.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thanks, @morrcahn.

Respectfully, what you might do is just answer the question and give a reason for your response. I’m only going to deflect attempts to psychoanalyze me as not credible. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Please see what I said here. Also, thanks for telling me how to pick and read books. Are you a white person?

This topic is a life-and-death issue for many people. Mine is racism (white supremacy), but I don’t even buy or read all the books on that subject. Twenty-three hours, fifty-six minutes, four point zero nine seconds in a day.

I’m interested in what Alicia Johnston has to say. I’ll buy her book and read it if I find out she’s interested in what I have to think.

Perhaps, by your closing phrase, you acknowledge you have no ability to formulate nuance and complexity on behalf of others?


Thanks, @morrcahn.

You’re not responding as though you understand the illustrations I’ve given, or what they mean.

Let’s walk through this, again, @morrcahn:

@Harry_Elliott asked a question which amounted to this:

If homosexuals follow their sexuality, why can’t the rest of us just tell them our opinions only if they ask?

I said the answer should be obvious: Because such a policy would be fatal to ecclesia; the fellowship of believers.

A church, where the discussion of behavior it deems wrong could only be initiated by those engaged in such activities, would inevitably become deeply corrupt.

You could just as well ask this question: If embezzlers follow their fiduciary instincts, why can’t the rest of the bank just tell them our opinions only if they ask?

Harry found the comparison of homosexuality to embezzling offensive.

This led me to make the statements — the examples / thought experiments — that open this post.

That ends the review.

Now, in response to you, two points:

• It doesn’t matter whether homosexuality is a choice, or not, as far as my examples / thought experiments are concerned.

Homosexuality is a behavior, in the context of Seventh-day Adventism, the larger body deems would, if it progressed unchecked, make the larger body deeply corrupt.

This is inarguable. But it’s not inarguable that the SDA church would become deeply corrupt. It’s inarguable that the SDA church thinks this. Otherwise, why is Alicia Johnston writing a 300-page book?

Harry Elliott’s question was about homosexuals "following their sexuality."


If homosexuals follow their sexuality, why can’t the rest of us just tell them our opinions only if they ask?

"Following one’s sexuality" is a choice. Put another way, I hold that, after a homosexual person realizes they are gay — if or whenever this takes place — they then make choices which are not the choices they would make were they not gay. Presumably, this is what “being gay” means.

(To cite your counterpoint, desiring same-sex marriage may not be a choice, but engaging in one is a choice. The same is true for traditional marriages.)

However, one can debate what “following one’s sexuality” means, or whether or not it is a choice. This is not my point, nor is it the point of my examples / thought experiments.

My point is that no larger body would withhold comment on behavior, in which a smaller part of their body was engaged, if they deemed that behavior as detrimental to their continued, coherent existence.

(I’m presuming that these larger groups are not moribund, or suicidal; that they desire to continue existing. I think you would agree that Seventh-day Adventists are, plausibly, such a group.)

That’s my argument. Now, if you have counter-examples — samples of cultures where a smaller part of their group was doing something the majority deemed fatal to their existence…sobecause of this — they said nothing, please present them.

I’ll wait.

And wait.

I believe this, always have, and, as noted above, nothing I’ve stated is predicated on the false idea that homosexual people choose to be homosexual people.

I can have all the empathy I want for another person’s worldview and lived experience. I’m still not going to let them pilot the Saturn V.

In other words, even empathy has limits. All phenomena do.

I’m still asking the same question I asked you previously, and waiting for a simple “Yes” or “No” answer:

Are you suggesting, if one believes the practice of homosexuality is outside of God’s will, empathy for the experiences of people from the LGBTQ+ community and an understanding of related history should move them to reverse that conclusion?

So, like Harry Elliott, you’re saying the SDA church should do this in matters that pertain to them; e.g., theological coherence & practice?


You can’t prove what you’re saying.

That is, you seem to think that you can certify Seventh-day Adventist theology incorrect on these matters by merely stating this; by fiat.

Meanwhile, Alicia Johnston recognizes, perhaps, in order to do the same thing, she needs to craft a rebuttal one-quarter the length of the Bible.



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