Sunday, November 24, 2013

Quakers, Christianity, and me, so far. Part 2

I finally reached a point where I thought that the Bible and therefore biblical Christianity was irreconcilably homophobic, and that the only choice that a conscientious person could make was to either accept, without real question or thought, the homophobic perspective in full, or to reject the bible and Christianity entirely as morally inferior. But then I came into contact with the Gospel for the first time. I grew up hearing the good news all my life. But, because it was not in the interest of my denomination to emphasize this, I was unaware of its radical nature. Christianity is premised on the idea that sometimes the bible's limited explanation of an issue or the policy position that a particular biblical figure holds is simply not good enough. And if prompted by the evidence in the lives of others of a negative effect or an inaccurate portrayal by a biblical text, it is the calling of Christians to follow hos lead in modifying the text to meet the needs of others or to reject the text in full. This is demonstrated by Jesus in his famous "you have heard that it was said...but I tell you" speech recorded in Matthew ch. 5:23-47. And also the famous story of Peter and the Jerusalem council recorded in Acts 10 and 11. Most famously and influentially in our time, is the rejection of the biblical perspectives regarding slavery, in their entirety, by Christians( and arguably Jews) in the mid to late 19th century. A legacy the church spent the next 200 years trying to bury in its mendacious insistence that slavery as understood in Biblical times was wholly different than slavery in more modern times. Armed with this knowledge, I was able to reconcile the idea of being faithful to Jesus and his way with supporting gay rights and relationships. But if anything this revelation only alienated me further from my church.

     I was always under the  impression that my Church, institutionally, as well individually, genuinely cared about Gay persons. That the opposition to gay relationships were based on a fidelity to faithful interpretation and application of the Bible and a genuine concern about the nature of Homosexual relationships. When the testimony of gay peoples lives showed them to be as varied, and valid, as Heterosexual lives, I was left with the idea of biblical fidelity. But when I realized that Christianity itself was based on change over time, that there was enough evidence for such a change to begin on the issue of homosexuality, but my church still refused to take any of those things into consideration, I began to get angry. My anger intensified as I realized that the very nature of conservative religion is based on the idea that there has not been any valid change on any issue regarding the Bible and its application whatsoever. And that to even suggest such a thing is tantamount to consciously or unconsciously being in league with Satan himself. That is when I realized that being truthful about the Bible and Christian History or caring about the lives of Gay people were both insignificant to my church , compared to defending the status quo ante. And that is when my commitment to my church ultimately collapsed. To willfully cause a group of people pain in an attempt to defend a notion that you know to be false for the sake of maintaining an illusion of unbroken continuity with the theology and thought expressed in the Law given to Moses at Sinai...........
Such acts were unconscionable to me.

As I mentioned before, I love my church dearly. I had never wanted to do anything but serve it and had literally shaped my entire existence around that possibility. But I couldn't let my love mask major theological disagreement. So I made a decision not to enter my church again unless I was respecting the spiritual life of others when under their roof, until bit changed on the issue of homosexuality and  on the underlying and more important issue of biblical exegesis and Hermeneutics. This has unfortunately left me without a church home. Which has prompted my current search for a home in exile.

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