Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Here are some thoughts about two sides of an issue. Moreover, my thoughts are warnings both for others and myself. There are those, including myself, who believe that if one holds to the authority of the Bible then to engage in homosexual sex is sin. There are those who believe that homosexual sex is a natural part of being human and that those who deny ordination to practicing homosexuals are denying them rights.
I have noticed developing problems on both sides of this debate. The problems could grow into monstrosities.
On the orthodox side is the problem of far rightwing groups that also believe that the practice of homosexuality is wrong. Once, several years ago, these groups, most of who are and were racists and into conspiracy theories, attempted to integrate conservative Christians into their spheres of action. They continue to do so.
In the Mid-West in the seventies and eighties they used poor farmers losing their farms as propaganda for their conspiracy theories about bankers. They use the awfulness of abortion to attempt to tie evangelical Christians to their causes.
It has happened. I have seen evangelical Church periodicals lay out conspiracy theories, that are bad enough, but they actually used resources that came from racist groups. The editors did not know they were racists but simply saw that they agreed on a couple of issues.
The issues surrounding homosexuality must always be tied to Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Christ preached-- his life, death, bodily resurrection and glorious return are those great pillars that knock all opposing ideologies to the ground. They will fall against the rock.
The person who makes his whiteness, his riches or poverty, or anything else the standard for connecting with God will find his ideals crushed against the rock that is Jesus Christ. Our discipleship grows out of our unity with Jesus Christ. Our rejection of sin comes from bearing his righteousness.
Christ’s grace. It doesn’t have room for ideology, be it conservative or progressive. Biblical Christianity tied to the ugly grime of extreme far right groups would be a monstrosity.
And here is the problem I see looming in the progressive side of the issue. Both in the event of the passing of proposition 8 in California and the loss now in the Presbyterian Church of amendment B, I see this turn by progressives towards taunting and insult and in the case of proposition 8, even some violence.
Resorting to such words as spiritual violence, bigot and homophobes won’t be an end but a beginning. That kind of characterizing of those who disagree with you on the basis of the biblical text won’t end with words. Not unless there is repentance. No, it will escalate into unrelenting strife, derision and eventually persecution on your part. You will find yourselves where you never intended to be, because words and actions do matter.
Barth’s words in the midst of escalating insult by those who had not thought of themselves as persecutors should remind all. “And if one pays heed to their naming of theological opponents publicly, and calling them ‘coteries without a Fatherland,’ as ‘those sour-faced parsons,’ who within two years … will get ‘not simply one blow of the cudgel’… then this is something picturesque and new, and can easily lead on to becoming something dangerous to life.” And it did become dangerous to life.
So once again, to be a Christian means tying beliefs to the crucified and resurrected Lord. It means understanding such terms as equality and holiness in light of our new life given when we are united to Jesus Christ.
This is the rock that falls on our sin and keeps us from holding onto worldly ideology. Christianity tied to taunting and persecution would be a monstrosity.
I am leaving tomorrow and will leave comments on till then. I will turn it back on when I return.