Friday, December 20, 2013

ACSWP & Matthew Dimick: Dishonoring God

The Advocacy Committee for Social Witness Policy cares too little for the honor of the Biblical God. And one can not fully stand by the downtrodden if in the process God is not honored. Reaching out in mercy, kindness and love occurs in the believer's life because they have experienced God's saving love and honor and respect his holiness.

The committee, working through their journal, Unbound, in allowing Matthew Dimick's article “Searching for Us: 7 Ways the New Hymnal is Queer” have diminished the Lord of the Church, the transforming power of the cross, the authority of Scripture and the love of Christ's people.

Dimick attempts to show where the new hymnal is queer. He writes of the committee's, rightful, attempt to not stereotype denominational members including any who are LGBTQ. But he uses this commitment to claim that the statement “can be read as a tacit affirmation that LGBTQ people share an identity, not a sin.”

Dimick claims, and this claim is happening too often, that Naomi and Ruth as well as David and Jonathan, are biblical models of LGBTQ people, writing:
And rest assured, even when orientation is not mentioned by name, we see our faces in the text. Just as the perspective of queer theology on biblical texts has allowed us to uncover and celebrate the Ethiopian Eunuch, David and Jonathan, and Ruth and Naomi as part of our stories, the LGBTQ community has also come to understand that texts which celebrate the outcast, strangers, and the unaccepted – texts which cry out for justice – are speaking to our community. 

While Dimick finds some welcoming hymns in the new hymnal that he believes LGBTQ people can relate to, he adds to his article some actual hymns written for the LGBTQ community and in the process refers to Mary the mother of Jesus as “the first Madonna and original Christian Diva.”

Dimick, also writes that he is happy that both genders, male and female, are used as metaphors for God but then, referring to James N Hoke's article, he writes, “some of us are still anticipating the day when we can sing out in loud voices “Come, Thou Almighty Queen.”. (Hoke was suggesting that queen should be just as acceptable a term as king when speaking of God.)

And then two other statements that fit together like a hand in a glove. Remembering that Dimick has titled his article " Searching for Us: 7 Ways the New Hymnal is Queer,” for number seven he simply adds “Robert Gagnon seems to have a problem with the new hymnal.” He links to Gagnon's article on the meaning of God's wrath, and writes,“enough said.”

 And in the middle of Dimick's article is this: “"Misogyny, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and classism are just a limited number of social problems that can be used as tools for abuse.” For Dimick and his publisher, ACSWP, there is no middle. Either one sees homosexuality as a gift and innate or one is homophobic.

So first, the dishonoring of God. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. It is the cross, the blood of Christ that has cleansed us and brought us near to God and to each other. (Colossians 1:15-23) God has and is transforming us through his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus has, washed, sanctified and justified us, turning the sinner, all of us, away from our sin and toward God. (1 Cor. 6:11) To deny both the sin and the transforming power of Christ is to dishonor God.

To say that sin, in this case sexual sin, is not sin, and to attempt to twist the Scriptures to say that righteous relationships, Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, are something else, gay and lesbian sexual relationships, is to deny the authority of Scripture. The Bible is not a story book about us—we don't look in it to find our picture—we read it to find the will of God for our lives.

Finally orthodox Christians are not against the LGBTQ community as people, they are not homophobic. God calls us to love and care for them as well as others. But that love includes speaking the truth that homosexuality is sin and it is a sin, like other sins, that leads to deeper and deeper darkness. Dimick should be aware of this since he states that he works with members of the polyamorous and sadomasochist community helping those involved in domestic abuse.

And this is where the the Advocacy Committee for Social Witness Policy has fallen into a quagmire. If nothing is to be brought under the discipline of the word of God, then even the darkness of polyamorous relationships and the darker world of sadomasochist will only be mentioned as communities bothered by domestic abuse. Why do we not care to pull the broken away from gross sin as much as we seek to protect them from domestic abuse.

Let the ACSWP, let us all, find that place where we love Jesus more than anything else, then the policies formed and given will not leave the broken to try and mend themselves.


John LaBella said...

If the is a sin in this post it is the belief in Christianity. A tortured distortion of reality, Christianity is one of the worst tools man ever invented to harm himself. Your blithe use of the word love is disheartening in its disconnect from the truth.

Viola Larson said...

Not invented but given: God has given himself in love please do not reject him. I will pray for you John.

John LaBella said...

No, invented. And praying for me when I did not ask for it is rude and insulting.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you showing up on a blog in order to troll and offer fact-free bad-mouthing of the beliefs of the writer is rude and insulting. You're free to reject Christianity, but you should learn some manners.

David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA