Monday, November 22, 2004

Rant #831



No, I don't know how many times I have actually ranted in my life. I made up that number. This is one I've tried to avoid, for like many other wayfarers following the way, I'm tired of all the arguments about homosexuality.

Now, I feel compelled to speak out once more.

It started this past Wednesday evening, at at Bible study at the church. We've been watching a video series called The Call to Discipleship, led by a woman name Erilynne Barnum, who is/was a deacon in the Episcopal Church, at Pawley's Island -- the ones who seceded from the Episcopal Church and squabbled over ownership of church property.

I went into the study partly as curiosity, partly for fellowship. Not everyone in the group is right-wing, by any means.

Most of what Barnum has said has been OK with me, and she certainly knows the Bible.

I pointed out a whole different interpretation of the Adam and Eve thing than she gave. She blamed everything on Eve, of course, and Adam wouldn't have been swayed if Eve hadn't tempted his with her "come hither" wiggles, etc., etc. Not to mention, Barnum was pretty darn slow to give any interpretation to Eve's creation as anything other than being taken from Adam and being only a helper and companion to him.

Anyway, I'm pretty used to hearing a more literalistic interpretation of the Bible than maybe many are. I take the message literally, and believe the healings and the miracles recounted in the Bible happened. I believe in God's mercy and Jesus' will to heal.

I don't believe God intends us to read the Bible without thoughtful meditation and application of reason.

Science is a gift of God, like medicine. We can use it or abuse it, like the other gifts God gives us. We can take into account the differences in our understanding of the world and that of 2,000-4,000 years ago. Otherwise, we would still be trying to cure most all illness with exorcism.

Wednesday night, Barnum talked about Sodom and Gomorrah. The homosexual sex act was named after Sodom, she reminded us. Then Barnum launched into a bit about all this stuff she's heard (with which she clearly doesn't agree) about homosexuals and how God's love is everwhere and God meets us where we are. Humph.

BUT, she said, the Bible clearly says HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN!!!!!! AN UNREPENTED SSSSINNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!

She didn't say it in as ugly a manner as I've heard others. But I clearly heard the condemnation in her voice. As if a gay person is somehow outside the pale, left standing outside God's grace and salvation.

For a moment, I'm going to consider her assertion that being gay or at least, "the homosexual act" is a sin. Yes, she says like so many others, we're all sinners, but THEY DON'T REPENT OF THEIR SIN. OOOOHHHH I guess they're gonna burn in hell.

Okay, then, that means we're all going to burn in hell, and God's grace doesn't mean diddly squat, because we're all guilty of not just sin, but unrepented sin. Sometimes we don't even acknowledge the sin, so how can we repent it? All of us have things we're so pig-headedly self-righteous about that we would never see ourselves needing to repent. I see that in Barnum herself, and not just on this issue!

But it's something we're all guilty of.

And if we ain't got no grace, there ain't no point.

That said, my own belief is that homosexuality is no more a sin or choice than being freckle-faced. It is the way some of us were created. If someone reaches out to another in love, whether hetero- or homosexual, that is between those two people and God. If we treat each other with love, we honor God, and God is present.

God does meet us where we are. Then God pulls us closer.

Like Father Jake (click on the the link at right and read his entry from Nov. 21), I grew up believing I was wasn't "good" for much of anything. I grew up in a family where the message was I wasn't good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, loveable enough or worth(y) enough.

I didn't realize how pervasive that condemnation was, or how much I had believed the lies, until the last years of my life. Coming to Christ saved me in a literal fashion. Then, after going through inner healing, prayer, spiritual direction and the ministrations of the Holy Spirit, I've started to walk out of those lies and false beliefs.

There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.

My own experience makes me sensitive to abusive treatment of others. Treat others as if they are worthless, outside of God's love, and you destroy souls. You rob Christ of that which is His to claim.

None of us "deserve" grace. It is freely given, nonetheless.

Tonight, I went to a meeting to plan activities for the healing ministry at our church. There was a proposal to bring in a priest from an Charismatic Orthodox Anglican/AMiA/Whatever church to speak at a healing mission. The man doesn't believe in ordaining women. He believes homosexuality can be cured, and this is apparently one of the major thrusts of his teaching/preaching. But, he's a very spiritual man, we were told.

There was enough resistance to can this, at least for the time being. Mother Marvelous issued a reminder how this would impact various people in the parish, some of whom have homosexual children, some who are barely hanging in as it is, with the current political climate.

I said I won't be there if this man is.

I don't care how spiritual he is and how much he might try to avoid saying something controversial, his beliefs would flavor his teaching. His presence alone would turn the healing mission into a political statement, given the politics going on in this Diocese, and in the church. It would make it divisive rather than healing. And it would be an affront to our two ordained women, to boot.

And no, I wouldn't want his politcal opposites there for the same reason. (The argument was used, well, what about Spong or Marcus Borg?) Political controversy belongs somewhere else, maybe a special seminar/open forum, but not at a healing mission.

Sigh. I'm tired of it.

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