Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tough Class

Religion and the Social Process today was tough. Not because it was an issue I struggle with, but because it is a divisive issue that tears the church apart. More than that: it's an issue that cuts to the very core of our identity as Christians, as a Church, and as a community of faith: heterosexism.

My stance is what it is. The problem for me comes, however, when people don't want to respectfully dialogue and instead push to make their position orthodox. We get it from both "sides" (and while I agree with one side), many times their tactics frustrate me.

I think the thing that hurts me most about the church's inherent homophobia is how it prohibits people from truly feeling free to explore who they are and what thoughts and feelings they may (or may not) have. It blindly labels people without thoroughly examining why the categories are the way they are. These churches/belief systems/Christians seem unwilling to say, "well...maybe Leviticus doesn't exactly mean what it says and shouldn't be taken literally" or "perhaps Paul was speaking about something else entirely here."

The Bible can be used as a weapon or a tool of liberation - and sometimes both at the same time. Where will this debate take us and what will this mean for how we read the Bible? I hope in a direction that will allow everyone at the very least to be able to feel God's love, even if they don't feel it from other Christians.


~c. said...

We can also say that Leviticus, et al is just wrong. IF perfection is not expected from the people of God, then why should we expect letter-perfect accuracy from the Bible...which is written by the people of God? Thanks for the post.

Jen said...

...but the word is inspired by God, who is perfect. When we start deligitimizing the Bible and treating it like a smorgasbord, we come dangerously close to walking away from what is considered orthodox Christianity. Not to totally shoot down the idea that Leviticus is odd (and it is), but if we start wondering if every single little bit of the Bible doesn't mean what it says, or we begin reading what we WANT to hear into scripture, that's how cults are started. Just saying.

Kristen said...

Not surprisingly I have a post about it on my blog. and I use a little bit stronger language check it outy

Melissa said...

I think ~c brings up a very good point.

The way I see it, the divinely inspired word of God is mediated through imperfect human beings...and cultural practices of those human beings. In order to understand Leviticus, we need to understand the cultural context those words were written in. The acts described essentially related to the emasculation of other men; particularly foreigners. Abomination relates more to ritual purity when it comes to one's ability to enter the Temple, so conceptions of sin back then are entirely different than our modern notions of sin. Given this cultural context, it's not speaking about the same thing that we're talking about. It's not picking and choosing what we want to hear from Scripture, but treating it in its context, and letting that speak to us today.

Jen said...

okay, THAT I can agree with....but that's not what it sounded like you were saying in your original post