Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Bible Is NOT A Clobbering Tool
The Bible is not a clobbering tool... even though it has been used as such. the Bible is not a guiness book of world records or an indexed compedium, nor is it ammo! The Bible is a book of mysteries. Jesus wrote nothing. Biblical authority can't be understood nor is it at the heart of the dispute. The main argument is what the readers are bringing to the texts. what are people putting onto the Bible?
For one the whole idea of how the Bible is against homosexuality or that Jews and Christians should regard it as a sin is something people PUT ONTO the Bible. The Bible doesn't say this, people CLAIM it does. They are bringing to the text their understanding of sexual preference. Ancient people had no idea of preference, nor did people really think about it until Freud started thinking about it. The actual term HOMOSEXUAL is only 100 years old. Invented in 1892 by Charles Gilbert Chaddock and heterosexuality wasn't coined until 8 years later. Prior to that was the term "sexual inversion" which referred to not just same gender relations, but also to any nonconformity to gender roles I.E. political aspirations in women or men who like cats.
So what? Well for one there is no term that is a direct equivalent in ancient Hebrew or Greek... so not only does the Bible not address the issue, IT CAN'T. it simply doesn't have the language. but there are some passages that refer to same gender sexual ACTS (not homosexuality in the modern sense). The Greek term arsenokoites is as close as one can get but it is rare and of uncertain meaning.
Mark Jordan argues that we're missing the point anyway! here we're not argue'n about homosexuality, we're actually argue'n about what the Bible says.. the argument is over how to interpret the Bible.
I would argue that Jesus did infact give us some guidelines here. Take for example the parable in the mustard seed in Mt 13:31-32. traditionally interpreted this parable is about we have the same "seed" of the kingdom, the Word of God which starts small then all the birds roost in this big tree's branches. that's such a nice poetic parable. but how would a first century jew interpret this story? In stating that this man planted a mustard seed in his garden, the hearers are alerted to the fact that he was doing something illegal. Mustard was considered a weed!! An unclean image thus becomes the starting point for Jesus' vision of the kingdom of God in this parable. what Jesus was saying is that people are always trying to weed out the kingdom of God and this kingdom will keep popping up in unexepected places.
So we need to bring this into our lives as Christians. Find divinity where it isn't supposed to be; in humor, in secular, and in our LGBT brothers and sisters. We are to form lives and see Jesus in others. Worship is a theatre of lived possibility.. and guess what? Sexual desire is in the kingdom of God! We must work to deliver the gift of erotic back to the church. The church doesn't have a homosexual problem.. it has a sexual one. We must strive to be ethical in our sexuality, whichever MODERN definition we fall under.
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