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Friday, July 29, 2005

More about gay theology

From the ongoing discussions on gay marraige at tribe.net:
Thorn writes: HERE are some quotes from JEsus on adultery=
Matthew 5:27 - "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.'

Matthew 5:28 - But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:32 - But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Matthew 15:19 - For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.

Matthew 19:9 - And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."

Matthew 19:18 - He said to him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,

Mark 7:21 - For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery,

Mark 10:11 - And he said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her;

Mark 10:12 - and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

Mark 10:19 - You know the commandments: 'Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'"


Fri, July 29, 2005 - 10:09 AM new

Thanks for quoting the scripture that you're working with. That at least gives us somewhere to start from.

In every instance you cite, Christ is clearly talking about forms of being dishonest with other people. Adultery is defined as dishonest because it presumes going around the other person's back. As the Anglican Book of Common Prayer defines it, sin is being in a state of dishonesty with God, oneself, or one's neighbors.

We know in detail what Christ said about a number of things -- handling debts, treating the poor, redressing ones own faults. But he didn't prescribe a church of atonement. He didn't tell us to put together a church that would have as one of its main features the ability to punish members who didn't choose the lifestyles we do. He prescribed the resurrection of the spirit.

I mean, good for you if your sexual practice helps you to treat other people with respect and put God first in your life. But the same could be said of the sexual practice of many of my friends who don't fall into the celibate-until-marriage, one-partner-until-death, opposite-sex-only camp. In the case of my friends, their physical desires are manifestations of intense intellectual and spiritual passions. Most of my friends who fall outside in this camp have suffered their entire lives, persecuted by bigots who frame their private desires and sexual acts as an assault on society. It makes them all the more earnest with their partners, all the more self-examining of themselves, all the more generous with strangers, all the more inquisitive about human nature, all the more accepting of frailty, all the more courageous to embrace the works of Light instead of the works of hatred, cowardice, and wanton punishment.

I refer you for a longer, more informed, and more compelling disquisitions on Biblical passages than what you'll find here at the sites mentioned elsewhere on this list -- jointhewalk.net and everyvoice.net. They may not be the style that you're used to, and they take into account a lot of information, a lot of clear thinking, and a lot of long arguments -- much more than can be summarized here. Evangelicals try to win arguments by wearing the other side down with minute arguments about the text. Episcopalians and other mainline Protestants tend to argue with text, and then to confirm that they know what they're talking about by examining their own lives, and then to read the ideas of people who disagree with them, and then return to the Bible to make sure that they read the text correctly.

I doubt that anyone amongst the Christian progressive movement has in mind to convince you of anything in particular about your sexual practice, aside from that if you lie to yourself, your partner, or God about your works or intentions, your relationship with God will suffer.

By all means, be persuaded of whatever serves you best in terms of coming closer to God and treating your neighbors responsibly, governed by love for them as Christ would.

But much of the argument comes down to what the church -- as a community larger than individual congregations, as the community of all lovers of Christ who want to share their experience and understanding together -- should do about individual sexual practice. By all means, congregations often work best among people who can agree on the issues they find most sensitive.

But the issue in the Episcopalian church with Africa is about whether the local congregations in Africa (or indeed those in Oakland) should be able to disrupt the holy, loving, responsible, Christlike, and Biblically-informed ministries of their sister-churches, where talking constructively about how to bring Christ into a good-intentioned, loving, truthful relationship doesn't take the destructive route of telling the individual to unilaterally end that relationship.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Carl said...

"sin is being in a state of dishonesty with God, oneself, or one's neighbors."

I think that this puts it well. If you think that God created someone homosexual, you are being dishonest with yourself.

God loves us but His call is still "come up here."

11:15 AM  

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