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Thursday, January 17, 2008
The Bible tells me so
Well, I'm coming down the home stretch on this *^%$#* project. I am pretty certain it will be done tomorrow.
The drop dead deadline was not the 15th but the 25th. Doesn't change the stress level one tiny bit; rather, it just prolongs the agony.
Writing like this, in the style of the Academy, has been like being tied in a straight jacket and asked to dance the ballet .
So, you'll forgive me if my humor and my mood - not to mention my powers of concentration - have been just a wee bit off. Just don't talk to my beloved. She can tell you stories that will make your ears burn!
Just keep me in ice cream and bourbon and no one gets hurt.
Every now and again, as I'm elbow deep in explaining my analysis of something or another, I've had this thought, this question. It comes to me like a fat fly in August while I'm on the beach reading a book. You know the kind. I appears out of no where, buzzing noisily around your ears and being really, really annoying in a place where it's not supposed to be.
I'm sure this has already been discussed somewhere. I'm certain it's not an original thought. But, I'm here with online access to all of the best theological libraries and I don't see this discussed in the literature any where.
So, while I'm finishing this *^%$#@* project, here's your assignment kids.
I've been thinking about one of the 'gotcha's of the theological position against LGBT people. These generally come from those folk who are just beginning to move from the position of "Hate the Sin / Love the Sinner" to one of a little more acceptance.
In their anxiety about leaving a place that has been comfortable in a righteous sort of way, they begin to dig in their heels around "Well, the Christian standard is 'no sex outside of marriage.' I love you and I can accept your sexual orientation, but you can't be sexually active because you're not married. And THAT," they usually say with an unmistakably triumphant tone, "is clearly a sin. It's in the Bible."
Stop me if you've been part of this kind of discussion before.
So, you look at your sister or brother in Christ and you say, "But, how can you hold me to that standard when you know that marriage is not yet possible for all LGBT people? You are putting me in a no-win situation."
And, your Christ sibling says, with a genuine sadness, "Well, maybe there's a message in that."
The next sound you hear is the theological train reversing its tracks and heading right back to that heinous place known as "HateTheSinLoveTheSinnerville" - except your friend doesn't recognize it because s/he's wearing rose colored glasses.
So, here's what I've been wondering. I will agree that, depending on your translation, you can find biblical support for a position of 'the sinful state' of LGBT people (you can do that, as well, for the 'sin' of being woman, a person of color, a left-handed person, a person with seizure disorder, someone who is divorced - I'll stop now, you get the point). .
I will agree that there is a long tradition in the church of 'celibacy outside of marriage.'
But, where is THIS written in scripture? Where is the scriptural warrant for 'celibacy outside of marriage' - except, perhaps, in some obscure Levitical code which also says you can't touch the skin of a pig or eat lobster?
Have either of the two great prophets of the church had anything to say about 'celibacy outside of marriage'? Was anything said to Moses about this?
Seems to me, the 10 Commandments are pretty clear about the status of covenant and what happens when you break your covenant with your spouse or that of your neighbor.
And, one might infer from some of the scriptural stories that, as soon as two single people do have sex, they get married right quick - except for the men who have more than one wife anyway, who would, in any other circumstance, be committing adultery, but since polygamy was de riguer at the time, it's not really adultery unless the female person who is married has sex with another man other than her husband.
Then, he goes free and she gets stoned.
Never mind. Where does it say anything - pro or con, for that matter - about homosexuality or sex outside of marriage in the 10 Commandments?
Where does Jesus say anything about either homosexuality or sex (any kind of sex) outside of marriage?
While he is both compassionate (he saves the woman from being stoned) and very, very clear about his feelings on the subject of adultery and divorce (not gonna happen on his watch), I don't see him addressing the issue of 'celibacy outside of marriage'.
So, if both Moses and Jesus have nothing to say about it, why do we get our ethical, moral and marital bonds all in a knot about it? I do believe one can 'live in sin' - but I'm less and less certain that it has anything to do with sexual activity outside of marriage.
Let me be clear: I'm not arguing for 'free sex' here. I think moral standards are necessary for a culture to sustain itself and a people to have any sense of well being. I am absolutely not in support of polygamy, polyandry, promiscuity, serial monogamy, or divorce.
Having said that, can someone point me to information that will help me understand how we went from a system that was designed more for 'product purity' (assuring the father of the 'virgin', whose property she was, that when 'taken' by another man she would not only be 'undamaged goods', she'd also be taken care of by another man), than moral code?
And, how / when did that get the scriptural stamp of approval?
Okay, I'm off to my wee little writing space for the rest of the day. Talk amongst yourselves. Remember, don't feed the Trolls.
Twenty years off your time in purgatory for the one who gives the best answer.