Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A bit of writing

Response to http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/17527/

Hi Mike -

Thanks for your response. I truly do understand your comments and also honor you as a member of God's amazing family. I also know the desire to seek "proof" of one's convictions, whether theologically, scientifically, anthropologically, or against any other standard that might "resolve" what we wish could be seen clearly through that dark glass of Paul's.

The heart is an amazing organ. In the times of Jesus, it was considered the center of one's being; certainly, it was held in at least as high esteem as the mind. In so many ways, my struggle has been in trusting the heart in the face of the conflicting and ever-changing studies, debates, and, unfortunately, some of the violence that always accompanies marginalization. Whatever the connection between heart, mind, soul, and spirit - I know that it is not vengeful. Instead it is loving and accepting and it does need to be listened to. I believe that God still speaks to us, even in these times. Revelation, I believe, continues to be a somewhat forgotten way in which God is seeking to do what God has in mind for us.

All that being said, "proof" is elusive. Over the years of working for the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people in the full work and worship of the church, the Presbyterian Church in particular, I have observed many debates over certain Scriptural passages. Most interesting to me is that I have often watched two very faithful, intelligent Christians argue the same passage of Scripture from two different points of view. When done, neither side seems to have moved, however each side is pleased with and reaffirmed by the efforts of their colleague. Nothing is changed.

This is one example, there are others, but for me - and I speak only for me - I don't believe that the Bible was given to us as something to be debated. There are, of course, many modern exclusions of certain practices in the Bible that neither of us would agree considering to practice -- enough of them to point to influence of the socioeconomic times in which such things were written. The Bible is, though, a testament to the story of peoples' faith in God and what they were willing to do to honor that faith. I find great courage and strength in such examples. I often remember what a seminarian professor once told her class, "Remember, when you read the Bible - it reads you!"

So, I come to a place of believing in God's way of using us, all of us, to serve the wonderful diversity of God's creation. If I err in any of this, I hope I err on the side of love, the love God has for me and for you, and all of us. Such a mistake would be overlooked much more easily than sitting in judgment on God and God's creation.

I really do hope that we can find ways to be faithful together in our disagreements, even the most difficult ones. It is that witness that I believe to be the most powerful of the Gospels and teachings of Jesus we strive to follow. It is that witness that can be a model for all to follow and a path for this world closer to the God that calls us all.

In peace,