December 20, 2013

In Which The Phil Robertson Event Becomes Irrelevant

So it's a day or so after Billy Whiskers Phil Robertson helped to stir up all sorts of outrage over his comments concerning gays and blacks in civil-rights era Louisiana. I still think that Phil owes the LGBTQ community an apology for the dehumanizing tone of his statements and members of the church of Christ (and Christians at large) an apology for the coarse and vulgar manner of stating his opinion that served only to bring reproach upon himself and the church at large. A man that serves as an elder should be mature and compassionate enough to know how to speak in a more gracious manner.

But that's all irrelevant.

For lots of reasons, in the big picture, but for a very specific reason in my life.

This morning I received a phone call from my dearest friend. I answered expecting to hear her cheerful voice, but I heard the choking gasps of anguished grief.

December 19, 2013

Why Phil Robertson Hurts the Church of Christ

I'm a member of the church of Christ (coC) denomination, just like Phil Robertson, the ZZ Top imitator that's the star of a reality TV show. There's a big difference between us, though. I was raised in the coC from childhood, and left it for a decade due to people with attitudes like Mr. Robertson promoted. Trust me when I tell you that when a coC member expresses his opinion in the way Phil did, you can bet that the LGBT community and people of color aren't the only ones looked down upon by them. Anyone that doesn't agree with their doctrine, people with mental illness, divorced people, feminists and women are second-class citizens in their worldview. That's because their worldview consists of the 'saved' inside the conservative coC and everyone else that is 'outside' of the coC.

There are a lot of people in the coC that want to move forward with gender equality and a new discussion on sexuality, but the reactions to Phil's comments are going to do nothing but cause a lot of people that are in the 'undecided' category to hunker down and retreat into the old exclusivist sectarian doctrine. That's going to shut down the possibility of gender equality discussions in a lot of coC congregations, and put back an open dialogue on human sexuality a decade or two.

December 17, 2013

Burning the Witches

Even though we think we're all compassionate and forgiving as Christians, we still love to burn us some witches.

Today, Rachel Held Evans tweeted about finding some of her work plagiarized by Amy L. Fritz in a blog post (since removed). This instance of plagiarism was nine paragraphs copied verbatim from a post Rachel wrote for Qideas. Of course, Twitter caught for immediately, with critical chirps and squawks aimed at Amy, her husband, and eventually back at Rachel.

December 5, 2013

Choose Your Lens

The more I've looked at my own heart, and watched the struggles of other people, the more I'm convinced that the problems and divisions manifesting themselves in Christianity these days isn't about lack of knowledge.

We all have a problem with vision. Not the 'vision' of future plans, but of our spiritual eyesight.

We make so many theological decisions that have huge personal and social implications for us based solely on evidence presented to us. But how we look at that evidence makes a world of difference in how we treat others and ourselves.

Do we see the world as fallen into evil, or do we see it as God's good creation? Do we see people as depraved sinners, or do we see each person as a bearer of God's image ? Are we living out the law of sin and death, or the law of love?

November 24, 2013

Time for a Schism?

On Friday, 22 Nov 2013, Tony Jones posted an essay titled "It’s Time for a Schism Regarding Women in the Church." A couple of years ago, I wrote a post calling for schism, but removed it to try and be more reconciling with those with which I disagree. I commented in support of Tony's idea on his and another blog, and was met with a vehemence against that position that did nothing more than prove to me that it's a good idea to withdraw from fellowship with those who are against the equality of women in the church.

November 21, 2013


Over my lifetime, I've had a lot of reasons to deal with the topic of forgiveness. I finally think I have some idea of what it's about these days, and I'm getting much better at it that I once was.

I still see a lot of people with what I think are misguided ideas about what forgiveness is for, and a lot of people who are struggling with these ideas while desperately needing to bring the healing of forgiveness into their own hearts. We really need to move into a better understanding of forgiveness so that we can do our own healing and help others along in the process so we can more fully live a life of love as Christ would have us live.

November 18, 2013

What if the Talent is Love?

I've heard the Parable of the Talents explained in several ways over the years, and they have either seemed somewhat incomplete or require a lot more inference than I think is needed. Over the past several days, some personal experiences have led me to an interpretation that seems pretty accurate to me.

14"For [it is] just like a man [about] to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15"To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16"Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17"In the same manner the one who [had received] the two [talents] gained two more. 18"But he who received the one [talent] went away, and dug [a hole] in the ground and hid his master's money. 19"Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20"The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.' 21"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' 22"Also the one who [had received] the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.' 23"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.' 24"And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no [seed]. 25And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.' 26"But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no [seed]. 27Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my [money] back with interest. 28Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.' 29"For to everyone who has, [more] shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30"Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
What kind of comparison do we get when we change the talents (money) to love (agape)?

November 12, 2013


It's not unusual or wrong to feel like this in our spiritual lives. Cracked open, drained of life, left on the ground. Those who we wold call spiritual giants have felt this way. I felt that way a long time, and still do at times.

Sometimes it was my fault, sometimes, it just seemed to happen.

But feeling empty doesn't mean we really are empty.

What if we don't properly recognize what it feels like to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

November 11, 2013

Hard Questions: Sin - What is it Exactly?

This doesn't seem like a hard question, at least not for fundamentalists and literalists, but it's a hard question that a lot of us feel needs to be discussed with a mind towards progress and unity.

We tend to think of sinning as a sort of overarching wickedness or evil, acts done maliciously to another. The word translated as 'sin' in the Bible actually means 'missing the mark'. That leaves a whole lot of room for almost anything to be a sin. It also leaves us with a need for a code by which to judge ourselves and our actions, so that we can know if we're sinning. And when we look at it that way, what happens often is that grace and love get pushed aside for legalism.

The idea that all sins are sins against God is easy enough to back up with Scripture, but what does it mean exactly to sin against God. Might we have been looking at it wrong? Might we do better to think about it in another way? Have we sinned against God and our fellow man by not looking at it a different way, and by holding some Scripture as unchangeable commands when they shouldn't be?

November 10, 2013

Fitting In

My friend Les Ferguson Jr. wrote a great post a couple of days ago about the feeling of not fitting in a church community anymore. If you're not familiar with Les' story, click around his blog for a bit to get the full ramifications. Short version is, his special needs son was molested by an old man from the church, said old man came back and killed his son and wife once charged, then church family wanted him to hurry up and get over it so he could come back and minister to them again. So, yeah, Les is a man who knows all to painfully the feeling of not being allowed to fit in. I could write all sorts of stuff about that, but the relevant point here is that Les needed more time to heal that they wished to allow, he's no longer their preacher, and he's healed to the point of regaining his passion again.

But's he's long gone as that congregation's evangelist, and understandably is wanting to have a ministry again.

November 5, 2013

Hard Conversations About the Future of the church of Christ

I've always attended church at congregations connected to the old Stone-Campbell Restoration movement. Earlier this year, I returned to a church of Christ (coC) congregation, feeling encouraged by the more open attitude I encountered there, and thinking that this might be a place where I could be a useful contributor if thoughts and ideas. I still have those hopes, but it seems that this, and many other coC congregations are gong to have to ask some very difficult questions of themselves, if they wish to continue as churches holding to the basic ideals of the Restoration movement.

I've heard it asked if a church has to ditch the coC name in order to grow in numbers and outreach effectiveness. In other parts of the country it may be different, but in SouthEast Texas, I'd have have to say that it's nearly impossible to overcome the stigma that has been brought upon the coC name. People have long memories concerning churches and their attitudes, and historically, the coC name hasn't been associated with love and hospitality in these parts. To this day, you can drive less than a half-hour to a nearby suburb and see a church of Christ congregation that has messages on its sign that would fit in perfectly with Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist crowd.

This same congregation publishes a newsletter that is "for those who love truth and hate error" as it says on their masthead. You can find just about mainstream Baptist pastor that will loudly condemn the tone and tactics of Westboro, but for some reason, coC preachers won't confront this church and its leaders until they're subject to an attack from them.

And that is a big reason that people in my area don't really care about what any church of Christ says or does. It's the same way across a lot of East Texas, and I would imagine other places, too. When one church of Christ condemns "fags" (yes, they do use that word on a regular basis) on their sign, and the rest of us hide behind the garbage of "each congregation is independent, so we can't say anything about them", why would anyone care to come and see if another one is actually different in its attitudes?

The legalism that has characterized the coC at large over the past half-century is bad enough, but when it grows into outright and self-admitted hate, and we don't confront it as Christians, then we've lost our credibility in the community. There are some people in the coC that are working to change that reputation, and give good passionate reasons why they stay in the coC for that reason. ("Change Agents" has been an insult used by the hard-liners in the coC for a very long time) And if you're in an area that is either dominated by, or has a great lack of coC congregations, then it's an easier job to make a different reputation for your congregation or the coC at large. But, when you're in a suburban area like mine, and there are at least a dozen different (mostly < 200 members) congregations, and one is spewing bile, then it's extremely difficult to get out a message of Christ's love and grace when we don't come out strongly against hatred and bigotry.

The big problem with coming out against a hardline church that insults people is that you're just stepping back into their game of debating tricks and "hating error". Time spent speaking out against those folks is time wasted that could be used to proclaim Christ and His love.  Time wasted that could be spent living out His vision of love and grace.

Hardliners defend their words and actions with the old "speaking the truth in love" cliche. Why do I call it a cliche? Because when it's used in that way, that's all it is. "Speaking the truth in love" requires that one loves first. Only then can you understand any truth. If you wish to claim that it give you license to be degrading and insulting to people that have a different opinion, then you understand neither love nor truth.

The sad thing is that this blog post, and my thoughts will go almost completely ignored by people in the coC. You see, I don't have a string of letters behind my name, or years spent in a pulpit, I'm just an average guy with an average mind, and very different lines of thought from most Christians, so very few people have any interest in what I have to say.

So what do you think? Am I just an unreasonable whiner? Should I just shut up and go along with business as usual? Should I stay and try to work to bring positive change? Or should I just walk away from institutional churches and simply try to live as best I can? Heck, should I even bother to keep spending time writing? I'd love to hear some opinions.

October 31, 2013

Repent and Relaunch

I've been silent here for a while.

I've removed a lot of posts.

I have to repent of some former attitudes and words.

For too long now, I've let my attitude be influenced towards anger and negativity; it's a natural thing for humans when we see injustice and wrongdoing.

But that anger neither served me nor the causes I wanted to stand up for. It wasn't a righteous anger within me; it was nothing more than my own anger magnified and rationalized.

September 7, 2013

Competent Comforting 4 - Talk

The three previous posts in this series dealt primarily with a situation of grief after the death of a loved one, though they can also be used when dealing with someone that has been a victim of abuse or crime. If you've been able to do the things in those first three posts for your friend, you've gone far beyond what most people can and will do.

Talking is when the potential for hurting your friend becomes very high, and if you don't feel you can do these things effectively and compassionately, then it's ok for you to avoid this. Remember, this is a person you love; the last thing you want to do is cause more pain.

August 26, 2013

As We Forgive - We Have Left

Forgiveness is a topic at the heart of Christian living, but it doesn't seem to me that we talk about it very much in terms of our own healing and growth. We repent and get baptized for the forgiveness of our sins by God, and we're taught the Lord's Prayer where we learn that we must continue forgiving people to have our sins forgiven, but there's some deeper thinking to do about forgiveness in the Bible when we look at the Greek text.

But before that, I think that a lot of us have some misconceptions about who forgiveness actually is supposed to benefit. It's difficult, if not impossible, to say in psychological terms that God's forgiveness of us benefits Him in some way, but our forgiveness of others is primarily for our own benefit. When we forgive, we quit carrying around anger, resentment, and spite, freeing ourselves to focus on more beneficial things and actions. The topic of forgiveness is usually accompanied by the topic of reconciliation, but those are two separate and very different things.

The Greek word in the Lord's Prayer where we forgive others, ἀφήκαμεν (aphēkamen), occurs only three times in the Bible, in the Prayer in Mt. 6:12, and then again in the parallel passages of Mt. 19:27 and Mk. 10:28. But in those other two passages, aphēkamen is translated not as 'we forgive' but as 'we have left'. (27 Then Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?")

The Disciples left behind the things that would have held them back from following Jesus. When we leave the topic of reconciliation aside, forgiveness is exactly that; leaving behind the burdens of anger and frustration that hinder us in our walk with Christ. That is why forgiveness is for our benefit, and not the other person.

Many times, we also have to forgive ourselves for things we have done, or that we blame ourselves for allowing to happen to us. These burdens can be much harder to lay down and walk away from, and are often more crippling than the others. But we still must leave these things to follow Jesus.

Competent Comforting 3 - The Listening

By the time your friend wants to start talking, which can be from a few hours to a few days, you've hopefully been able to communicate effectively that you're completely present to help tend to their needs. And now is the to make sure you can be completely present and able to suspend you own internal dialogue for a while.

If you can't do this right now, that's ok. Don't try to force it. Find a way to take a short break or gracefully leave and come back another time in the near future. This is going to be work, and faking it will be more uncomfortable than parting and returning.

Some folks seem to be natural listeners in conversations. This isn't necessarily a sign of good listening skills, so don't go on the assumption that this part will be easy if you're one of those natural listeners. You're going to hear a wide range of things, some of which can provoke strong reactions within you.

August 25, 2013

Competent Comforting 2 - Presence

Just being there.

Probably the most important thing we can do for our friends.

"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."

Sometimes, we may need to do nothing more than this.

Competent Comforting 1 - Ourselves

At some point in our lives, we're all going to need comforting, and will come into contact with people that need comforting in a crisis or grief situation. But if we're not ready with a bit of knowledge in how to properly comfort someone in these times, we can wind up being like Job's friends:
1Then Job replied:
2“I have heard many things like these;
you are miserable comforters, all of you!
3Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing? - Job 16:1-3

 Sometimes it's more about knowing what not to say more than knowing the right thing. In the next few posts, I'll be talking about some things we can all do to make us effective and competent at comforting our friends and loved ones in times of crisis and grief.

Inspired by God for Edifying or for Restricting?

Just about anyone who has been, grown up in, or had a confrontation with literalism has been confronted with 2 Tim. 3:16 (All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;) as a proof-text that the Bible is God's inerrant and literal book of rules. But is this really what that verse means, or does it have a larger meaning when taken in a larger spiritual context?

To take "inspired by God" (in Greek, God-breathed) and use it as proof for inerrancy requires us to logically move directly from 'God' to 'perfect' and ignore the decidedly imperfect thing that lies in between: people. Also, at the time Paul wrote this to Timothy, the only Scripture he could have been referring to was the Old Testament. A Jew such as Paul would have completely believed that the Hebrew scriptures were from God, but as a new being in Christ, and considering the other things Paul wrote against law-keeping, would he really have been trying to tell Timothy that his other letters should be considered a perfect rule-book with no errors? Was Paul giving Timothy a set of restrictions, or a set of tools with which to build up himself and others?

Let's look at a bit more of the 2 Tim. passage to get some more context:

August 18, 2013

New Direction...

This morning, I'll be officially placing membership at the church that I attended in my teenage years. I and that congregation have both changed a lot in thirty years, and I've felt completely comfortable in the past few weeks I've been attending services there.

Why did I leave the last church I was attending? Primarily because they're going in a direction that I didn't feel had very much to offer me in terms of my usefulness to others. I honestly can't tell you how many ministers ordained by the denomination attend there, but it turns out to be many more than I ever realized. Being someone who believes in the universal priesthood of believers, the concept of official ordination doesn't really sit well with me, and the clergy/laity boundary only makes me feel somewhat alienated and minimally useful to the Church.

May 19, 2013

Forgiving God

 "If there is a God, He will have to beg my forgiveness."
Written on a wall in the prisoner barracks at Mauthausen Concentration Camp

April 7, 2013

Why I Like Liturgy (Well, Some Of It)

Growing up in the Churches of Christ, I had zero exposure to any sort of liturgy or church history. Even though I attended a Lutheran school for grades K - 2, they weren't teaching us liturgy, the religious part of our education was learning the big stories of the Bible, (it was the early seventies, mind you, so it was probably different than religious schooling before and after that time.) We did have Chapel services on Wednesday mornings, but it was just some singing with an interactive Bible lesson afterwards, for us kids; pretty much the same as a CoC Wednesday night meeting, just in the morning. Still, it was far more progressive a school than what I would imagine most church schools to be; we even listened to and discussed Jesus Christ, Superstar in the Easter season of my second grade year. I doubt you'd find that happening in any Christian school today!

But, back in the conservative Churches of Christ in which I grew up, (sectarian, rather than ecumenical ones, as Richard Beck would put it) there was never any mention of liturgical calendar holidays. In fact, the only times Christmas or Easter were mentioned were in parts of sermons explaining why Santa Claus and the Easter bunny shouldn't be taught to kids as having any relation to a holiday. The only reason that we didn't have any observances of those Holy Days was simply sola scriptura; they weren't expressly mentioned in the Bible.

March 26, 2013

Do This...

When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood." Luke, Ch. 22, vs. 14-20, NASB
We do this in remembrance of Him. Remembering His love for us, his devotion to us, His sacrifice for us.

I was raised in, and still attend, churches of the Restoration Movement ; Churches of Christ as a child and young adult, and a Disciples of Christ congregation today. In these churches, The Lord's Supper is the pinnacle of the worship service, the prime reason that we meet each Sunday. "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes." 1 Cor., Ch. 11, v. 26, NASB.

March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

Christ, the Heavenly King, made his entrance into Jerusalem riding a donkey.

Not on a white horse or in a chariot as befits His position, but as a peasant would.

He comes to us in the same way. Quiet, unassuming, not raising His voice for recognition.

Do we recognize Him when He comes to us today?

In His distressing disguise, do we look past the homeless, the sick, the abused, straining our eyes to see Him in the glory of men? 

He is not here dressed in fine clothes and jewelry, yet He is still here.

Do we see Him in our majestic church buildings and chapels?

Do we see Him in our church leaders?

Do we see Him in ourselves?

March 18, 2013

Sexual Abuse and Forgiveness

This is a very different kind of topic for me to write about, especially as I haven't been sexually abused, but some of the women I have loved have suffered that horror, and I know my reactions to hearing that. This will be a deeply personal post for me to write, and difficult as I feel that anger and desire for vengeance again.

First off, as I write about the forgiveness part, I want you all to know that I am not speaking to the victims of sexual abuse here, that is a subject best handled by well-trained and compassionate people. Rather, I'll be speaking about my experience as someone who loves a person that has suffered that abuse.

March 10, 2013


"Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her." Isaiah 66:10, NIV

It's Laetare Sunday, a name which means almost nothing to most American Protestants. Laetare is the Latin word for 'rejoice'.

In the midst of the contemplation of our sins and mortality of Lent, Laetare Sunday reminds us of the words of John the Baptist, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world."

A Sunday to rejoice, in the midst of our repentance. After all, what reason would we have to repent were it not for His love bringing our redemption?

March 7, 2013

What Can I Say?

I hope you read my last post, and then clicked through to Les' blog. His story is compelling and painful, sickening and heartening.

Some of what disturbed me most were the reactions of some ostensible 'Christians' to Les in the weeks and months following that tragedy.

Dealing with someone who is grieving is difficult for the majority of people. It's even harder for all parties involved when death comes through horrific tragedy. Our compassion wants us to help, but without a modicum of grief counseling training, it's extremely difficult to know what to do. Feeling the grasp of the futility of which Qoheleth wrote, many times the only thing left to the bystander is what we can say.

We want desperately to speak words of wisdom to help guide the grieving one (and as often as not, ourselves) to a point of healing.

The thing is, wisdom doesn't heal; only Love heals.

March 6, 2013

Are you struggling with your faith?

Then I'd suggest that you read Les Ferguson's blog, Desperately Wanting to Believe Again. Specifically, I'd recommend to start off with this post, Obscenity Redux. It contains the elements of the story necessary to catch up with what happened exactly

Les, a former Church of Christ preacher, lost his wife and son to a man who had been raping his son, who came and murdered them horribly after he was arrested for the sexual abuse. The reactions towards Les from some of the congregation in the aftermath was both disgusting and infuriating.

Yet even after this horrible event, the spirit of a true Christian still shines through in Les' words as he struggles to find a semblance of the faith he once felt.

May Les, his family, and all of us be blessed and comforted by the One who makes all things new.

February 2, 2013

Generosity After Church

Everybody's heard about the squawk over the "pastor" that left the snotty note on a receipt at Applebee's, then called to get the entire staff fired after she was outed on the intertrons. There's some good discussion, lots of hate and mudslinging, and some things that should be very saddening to Christians.

First off, to the "10 percent tithers"; if you use that to justify giving only 10% at a restaurant, then just go to a fast-food joint where you don't even have to tip at all. And don't even let people in the restaurant know you claim to be Christian; the rest of us don't need or deserve the bad name you give us, and Christ certainly deserves a better example. Think I'm wrong about this perception? Here's what a Reddit user, who is in the restaurant industry, has to say about it:

January 30, 2013

Damaged Goods? You Don't Get To Define Me

The past couple of days has seen a proliferation of posts in the more progressive segment of the Christian blogging community about the way the church deals with sexuality, sin, and shame. The ones I've seen have been concerning the treatment of gays in the church and the purity standard impressed upon young people in conservative churches. The comments after these posts have been painful, amazing, angering, and saddening, yet very thought provoking. Two posts and their following comments, Torn: Chapters 7-11 and Do Christians Idolize Virginity?, at Rachel Held Evans' blog, and Sarah Bessey's post, I Am Damaged Goods, at A Deeper Story, made me do a lot of thinking of the culture of shame and the concept of damaged goods that I have experienced in the past from a former church.

It's not just gay people and young people that get the unhealthy message of shame from conservative churches; lots of divorced people have that nonsense forced upon them, too.

January 21, 2013

The Lens of Grace

We all have our own individual ways of looking at things, especially Scripture. I started changing my spiritual lens prescription a couple of years ago, during a relationship with a very sweet lady.

We had known each other since childhood, and had many mutual friends from our school days, some of whom were now living openly gay. At this point in my life, I had pretty much given up on any form of churchianity, so I didn't really care much at all about what any church had to say on any topic. She was determined to change my thinking about the Church and Christ, so we had many discussions on Scriptural topics.

One night, we were discussing a lesbian couple we know and she said to me, "You know, what they're doing isn't any different in God's eyes than what we're doing, if you look at it legalistically." That stuck with me, and as she was a dedicated church-goer, I asked her how she could reconcile her openness and acceptance with what is written in Scripture.

"I try to look at people through God's grace, instead of His judgment", she replied.

January 7, 2013

The Sacredness of Our Stories...

In her post from earlier today, Rachel Held Evans wrote a couple of passages that got me to thinking along some different lines than her post.  The first, "We have become a Church that judges one another by how we judge one another, and that makes me sad." and the second, "As any mother of a gay child or survivor of sexual abuse will tell you, when we talk about sexuality, we are talking about real people, real bodies, real families, real lives. To forget this is to subject our fellow human beings, created in the image of God, to a sort of theological objectification that robs them of their humanity and renders their stories, their experience, their backgrounds, their spirituality, their relationships, their struggles, and their joys down into something I can either “affirm” or “condemn,” something that is either “pure” or “defiled.”", came from entirely different sections, and seeing the connection between the two isn't quite as obvious when reading her post in its entirety.

Echoing Richard Beck, it's easy to see how both of those sections relate to boundary psychology of inclusion/exclusion, but what if the solution, at least for some of us, might be something very personal, something deep within our own boundary that we're trying to exclude.

Sexuality and The Church

2013 is looking to be quite a year in the Christian blogosphere concerning issues of sexuality. Several bloggers are taking up series of posts concerning sexual abuse, homosexuality, etc., and doing so in a way that reaches out in a spirit of reconciliation between sides and respect for Scriptures.

I wish I could be one of them.

Maybe it's just the gray weather getting to me or the beginnings of a cold, but I just can't see why anyone tries to make any sort of appeal to the hearts and minds of fundamentalists. They've shown that they have no intention of giving any consideration to the arguments from the progressive section of the church, so why waste the time and energy?

Maybe it's time for a good old-fashioned schism.