Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Tornado is God's Message to the ELCA to Repent? Really? That's What You're Going With? Interesting....

So, I don't know how it is for other people in seminary, but while I was there I made a ton of great friends, and two extremely close friends.  So close, in fact, that I've become life-long friends with their families as well, and thanks to the wonders of the internet, we all still stay in fairly close touch.  The younger sister of my friend, let's call the sister K, messaged me on Facebook today to ask for a firm rebuttal to this article.

I was only too happy to help.  Now, I should start by saying that in these kinds of cases, I seldom find it productive in any way to argue that homosexuality is not a sin (at least, not at first).  I find that that argument gets really intractable, really quickly.  They aren't going to change my mind, and I am not going to change their minds.  But if you want to act like homosexuality, mentioned at the most 9 or so times in the Bible, is more important to God than hunger, failure to show hospitality, and the oppression of God's people ... well, I'll play *that* game.

Here's what I said:

Oooh, let me rebut those ridiculous points, also one by one:

1. We all have sins we practice daily and unrepentantly. Yours may not be a "sexual sin," but if you are going to say "all sin excludes you from the Kingdom of God," well....maybe you should examine self-righteousness, pride, and lack of hospitality within yourselves, 'cause it seems like you might be guilty of at least those three sins. You may say that you repent of these, but if so, why do you keep practicing them?
Oh, and my passage for this: "For while we were sinners, at the right time Jesus died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6

2. You seem awfully concerned with dealing with "homosexual sexual sin." Even if GLBT persons make up 10% of the population, that leaves 90% of them heterosexual. Why aren't you up in arms about all the heterosexual people having sex before or outside of marriage? Why aren't you proposing resolutions that censure or defrock straight clergy who engage in such behaviors? Since that affects a far greater number of people, I should think you'd want to be proportionally concerned about that. Also, Jesus explicitly preached against divorce, though he never spoke about homosexuality. Why aren't you focusing your attention on THAT sin?*

3. What's evil is discouraging loving and holy relationships among consenting adults, and expending so much energy lambasting gays and lesbians. Didn't Jesus also say to feed the hungry, and proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners? To clothe those who are naked and to bind up those who are broken in body and spirit? Maybe you need to refocus your priorities to the things Jesus actually condemned - injustice, hunger, illness and oppression.
In fact, do you want to know what the real sin of Sodom was? Check out Ezekiel 16:49 - "This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy." Nothing there about same-sex love.

4-5 - Considering how the vote turned out, perhaps a more appropriate passage to use is, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him." IOW that tornado was an opportunity to see God's works revealed in the gathered assembly.

6. Sensuality is very much a part of the Gospel, and is not antithetical to salvation. Or do you not put much stock in the Incarnation? 

Oh, and one other thing, if this was a sign to the ELCA, to whom was the tsunami in Asia in 2006 a sign, and for what? It must be nice to know for certainty the mind of God - something the prophets and even Jesus didn't always know! (Just look at him in the Garden of Gethsemane....)

FWIW, the Bible never explicitly condemns the sort of loving same-sex relationships we see today. Most of the condemnation of homosexual behavior has to do with temple prostitution, lack of hospitality, or some really misogynistic understandings of sexual behavior.

Later, I commented to K that it never fails to amaze/shock/horrify me that people seem to think that proclaiming God's so-called "justice" is far more important than demonstrating God's mercy and compassion.  How does that passage go again... "Judge not, lest ye be judged"?  I am sure I read that in the Bible somewhere..... 

* Heh heh heh, I got a perverse little joy out of that, given that I myself was divorced from my first husband.

1 comment:

Pastor Joelle said...

Then he followed it up with a post about how God gave him cancer to teach him not to be worldly.