Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

The Discussion - Part 2

Sorry, Jake fans, I'm behind on everything. I won't make any promises. Seeing all the crap that's been happening to my friends lately, I realize that all I can say is I plan to have my NYC trip details up by the end of the weekend, barring anything crazy happening.

(And hugs to my flist. Lots of people dealing with turmoil right now.)

But in the meantime, the second meeting of the discussion group happened Tuesday before the trip. This session was mainly about the Bible and what it says and doesn't say about homosexuality.

I reconciled myself to the issues of the Bible awhile back, and I was much more interested in the next session, which would discuss science. I was afraid I'd missed it, as I didn't get back from NYC in time for the meeting. But I found out it had been postponed, so YAY for that.

But concerning the Bible, there are seven of what many of us call "clobber passages," the verses and stories used to try to keep gays in their place (out of sight and out of mind). Because that's what you're supposed to do with the Bible, right?

The passages are as follows:

Genesis 19:1-29 and Judges 19:1-30. The two passages I despise most - and that has nothing to do with anti-gay references. These are two very similar stories about a gang of men who call for male guests to be turned out to them so that they may "know them." The host instead offers his virgin daughters/wife/concubine for them to do with as they wish. Nice, huh?

Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13. Paraphrased: Man shall not lie with a man as with a woman. It is an abomination, etc.

I Corinthians 6:9-11 and Timothy 1:10. Listings of offenses that will keep you from the kingdom of God.

Romans 1:26-27. Paraphrased: The people turned away from God and from what was "natural" and men desired men and women desired women, etc.

When my brother first came out to me, I read these passages and bawled my eyes out. I believe absolutely that one's sexual orientation is determined at birth, and I could not reconcile the concept that God would make someone gay and then say, "but you cannot act on it because it's wrong." I put these passages aside until I could ask questions of a scholar with a better understanding.

My spiritual and religious beliefs are strongly rooted in science. If the Bible cannot be reconciled to what we know to be scientific fact, then how is Christianity any more valid than believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy?

My understanding of the Bible is also rooted in the belief that the authors of scripture didn't close their eyes while God guided their pen. The stories and laws and understanding of God as written in the Bible are greatly influenced by the culture of the day and what the writers perceived of their world.

I certainly hope fundamentalists don't believe it would be OK to throw me to a pack of rapists in the name of protecting their male guests from harm. But hey, I'm just a girl. What do I know?

What follows are things I've learned from my pastor and from other sources in regard to these passages.

The Genesis and Judges passages are about rape, not love. In their culture, for a man to force another man to take the position of a woman in rape was to lower their status to that of a woman, who was on par with their cattle or dog. That's a far cry from a loving, consensual relationship. And Jesus seemed to be more concerned with the lack of hospitality of the Sodomites. Paraphrasing: "If you are not welcomed, shake the dust from your feet as you leave. Sodom is better off than those who do not welcome you." It was not just a nice gesture to host a traveler; it was a matter of survival. This was a harsh desert land.

The word "abomination" may be too strong compared to the original Greek text. Prostitution, both male and female, was a religious ritual in the cultures surrounding the Israelites. The laws in Leviticus were about setting God's people apart from the others around them. I still am amazed at how people who are so set against same sex relationships say the other laws no longer apply. It's OK to eat shellfish. It's OK to plant different crops side by side. It's OK to wear two different fabrics at the same time. Everyone cherry-picks. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you and possibly to himself.

As to the Corinthians and Timothy passages, the translation reads like really bad grammar, which makes me think they are not translated properly. Again, they are possibly linked to male prostitution, or male sex slaves, which was common practice among the Romans.

Honestly, did Paul have any concept of sexual orientation and consensual same-sex loving relationships?

And the word "natural" is taken and used today to mean something probably very different from what Paul was talking about in Romans. "Natural" may well have been a cultural reference, meaning "socially acceptable," as opposed to "found in nature," as we think of it now.

And homosexuality is found in nature, contrary to what anti-gay activists would have people believe.

Jesus didn't mention homosexuality, as far as we know. He was concerned with the heart of the law, justice, and compassion. That was how He lived His life here on earth.

I believe lgbt people are the Samaritans of the day. Those of you who only know the phrase "good Samaritan" may not understand what I mean. Samaritans were despised by the Israelites. They were deemed "less than." Sound familiar? But Jesus went out of his way to talk to them. He waited at a well in the heat of the day to talk to a Samaritan woman, because he knew that only someone who was an outcast would come to draw water at that hour.

Once again, I will link a sermon series by Adam Hamilton, pastor of the largest Methodist church in the country.

When Christians Get It Wrong

This entire series is good. Among these is a sermon on homosexuality. Pastor Hamilton does get it a little wrong, especially in the area nature vs. nurture (for anyone who's paying attention, this question has been answered) and in talking about the phrase "love the sinner, hate the sin." He does not quite grasp the concept that the "sin" cannot be truly separated from the "sinner." But overall, this is a thoughtful and compassionate sermon.


Feb. 24th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, it definitely has its faults. I primarily like it for the way he picks apart the mistranslations and goes back to the original language to explain it. He's pretty thorough on debunking the Scriptural interpretations that have been used to condemn homosexuality.
Feb. 24th, 2011 03:01 am (UTC)
Like I said, I will read it more thoroughly. Might be something worth discussing in a later session. :)


Galadriel sketch

Latest Month

March 2015


Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by chasethestars