Friday, February 7, 2014

Didja Hear About The Gay Teenager? He Was Worried He Might Be A Christian.

     The poor kid must really be torqued.  Imagine having and acting on strong attractions for another guy and trying to love Jesus at the same time.  As the early American moralists Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards--and any number of their contemporaries preaching from Christian pulpits might put it:  Blasphemy!  If those unyielding sermonizers need support from the Holy Bible, they can call on numerous passages from both Testaments to justify their rejection of homosexuals as sinners and refuse to confer their church's sacraments on them.  I really have no quarrel with the rights of churches that take that road. To each his own, live and let live, you do your thing and I'll do mine, cultivate your own garden, yada yada yada.
     What I do wonder about when it comes to those church communities (including my own, the United Methodists, who won't perform same sex marriages) is their tendency to function as cafeteria Christians.  I mean it's pretty clear that as a divorced and remarried guy  (read Mark 10: 2-12 here) that I'm unequivocally condemned as an adulterer according to the Man himself, Jesus Christ, who lambasted men like me when he went through that infamous quizzing from the Pharisees. Yet I'm (I think) an openly accepted member of my Methodist church, was even married the second time inside of one.    I have no doubt that the same situation exists in numerous denominations professing their Christianity, all of them inside the same cafeteria of moral imperatives, effectively saying, "I'll accept that sinner, but won't have anything to do with that guy, if you please." 
     From experience I know that the common response to matters of inconsistencies like these is that the Holy Bible is subject to linguistic analysis and historical interpretation.  That's okay with me as long as the analyses and interpretations aren't bent to serve contemporary mores and specific applications of scripture to fit a particular church family's predilections.  I read several versions of Jesus' condemnation of divorced men, and they're pretty much consistent and unequivocal.  Some utterances just don't lend themselves to connotative distinctions, and this is one of them.  A divorced guy is a divorced guy;  adultery is adultery.  So how come my sin is one that just about every Christian denomination I know of can deal with, but homosexuality both in thought and action, isn't?  Divorce is divorce, adultery is adultery, homosexuality is homosexuality, sin is sin.  The equivalence is self-evident, the scriptural condemnation is consistent, the uneven responses of some churches . . . mystifying.
     What it comes down to is this:  the whole issue isn't about homosexuals, it's about the challenge to Christian heterosexuals.  Contempt is not a license for self-righteousness.  And singling out sins for specific rejection of the church's sacraments?  That's a decision that is best left to the Guy Upstairs.  Times change, sins don't--all of us carry some baggage around, but that doesn't exclude us from receiving the blessings of the church or the love of its founder Jesus Christ.  Those who embrace that imperative but believe they are the exclusive caretakers of the body of Christ should consider the sin of pride and its effect on the calm of eternity. 
    
    
    
    

4 comments:

  1. Well put! As an esteemed colleague of mine stated many years ago: "Sin ain't sin when good people do it."

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  2. Thanks, Sid. Your colleague's pithy remark puts it in a nutshell.

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  3. I plan to put this comment on Madville as well, John. I hope and am pretty sure that I am right on this, that the God that we will all stand before at the end of our days here, will be a lot more like you, than some of the bigots and judgementalists that we find in society today.

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  4. Thanks, Lanny. I wish all professed Christians would remind themselves of the message about love that Paul preached to the Corinthians.

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