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.