Saturday, July 11, 2015

Let Them Eat Cake

You know you're in for it when a Christian starts off by saying, "We all believe..." Well, actually no, but please do enlighten me, and while you're at it, insult my intelligence. After all, it's what most of the Church does anyway.

I'll tell you what bothers me the most about all the fallout from the Obergefell ruling. It's bad enough to hear people who profess to serve a savior who commanded his disciples to love one another expressing such profound disapproval with the decision. I can live with that. But when I hear from these very same people that it is my duty and obligation as one of them to call out the sin of what they flippantly refer to as a lifestyle, and if I don't, then I, myself, am guilty of sinning, that's when I lose it.

To invoke a former President, let me make this perfectly clear. Stop saying "WE" when you're clearly talking about you. You're as much a sinner as me. The day you expend as much energy going after fornicators, divorcees, murderers, greedy bankers (remember the money changers in the Temple?), corrupt officials, then you can give me a lecture on sin.

Until then, I would greatly appreciate it if you would leave me out of your little "WE" gang. I'm not a member of your posse. Seriously, I'm not. My conscience is totally clear in this matter. Call me a sinner, enabler, whatever. You're wasting your breath. On a list of 1 to 10, you're obsession with gay marriage barely rises to the value of a fraction.

I may not possess the "vast" knowledge of scripture that some of you possess, but I'm smart enough to know that you can twist scripture to support just about any political or religious agenda you want. For the first hundred or so years of our nation's history, slaveholders used scripture to justify slavery. How do you like them apples?

Biblical scholars have wrestled with the meaning of scripture for millennia. The whole issue of how old the universe is was debated as far back as St. Augustine more than fifteen hundred years ago. Want to really rock the boat? Walk into a Bible study and suggest - just suggest, mind you - that the universe is 13 billion years old. I've done it. You can't imagine the fur that flies.

The Bible says, the Bible says...That's what you keep hearing over and over and over and over again. And the Bible, naturally, is the living word of God, so it can't be infallible. Okay, great, then here's a question for all the parents out there. Have your kids ever screamed or cursed at you? If so, have you stoned them to death? No? Why not? According to Leviticus, that's what you're supposed to do with children who do that to you.

Yes, but the New Testament says that's no longer in force. Well, that's nice to know. Can you imagine if that rule were still in play? I dare say a lot of kids wouldn't make it to the first grade.

Okay, so long as we're in the New Testament, how about this one? How many of you have moved a mountain lately? Say, wha? What you talkin' about, Willis? I'm talking about Mark 11:23.

"Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea," and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them."

Obviously, you would point out, I've never heard of a metaphor. Jesus often used them along with parables to drive home a point he was trying to make to his audience.

Ahh, metaphors and parables. You mean then that the Bible isn't always literal? Or do you mean it's only literal when it suits your purpose? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Speaking of parables, what if I said that there was no such thing as a physical Garden of Eden or Adam and Eve? The whole Genesis creation story is a giant parable to illustrate our relationship with God. The Garden represents what God wants for his children; the tree of knowledge represents our unaided will; the serpent represents the doubt that enters our mind; the eating of the fruit represents our decision to reject God's will for our own; and the eviction from Eden represents the consequences of that decision.

There was no actual Adam and Even in the physical sense of the word. Turns out, we are all Adams and Eves. When we submit to God's will for us, we enjoy the fruits of his love; when we opt to go it alone, we walk in darkness. He still loves us, but our journey becomes considerably harder and more burdensome.

Now some of you will say that is heresy. Others might agree at least in part. The point is I've just taken a major part of scripture and thrown it out the window. I've rejected a literal interpretation of Genesis, just like others before me have done with other parts of the Bible. That doesn't mean they're sinners or that they're going to hell anymore than I am.

Someone whose opinion I value recently told me that the only requirement of any believer is their acceptance of the repentance story as the key to their salvation. In short, Jesus bore our sins on the Cross and we are redeemed through his blood. The rest we can debate about till kingdom come.

But, apparently, that isn't enough for some. They won't be satisfied until everyone walks and talks like them. They're completely oblivious to the fact that they act and sound very much like the Pharisees that Jesus called out during his short ministry. If ever there was a case of missing the forest for the tree these people are exhibit number one.

Well, I'm not joining in. You see, I don't see gays as sick people. I see them as human beings who need love and encouragement. And, no, not the kind of "love" and "encouragement" that allows them to see the error in their ways. A judgmental heart is a judgmental heart, no matter how nice you wrap it up.

I think what's really going on here is that, for some, the world is turning upside down and everything they knew to be true is being questioned. I imagine it was no different fifty years ago when the Civil Rights Act was passed. It's hard to believe that it was once legal in this country to deny service to certain people because of the color of their skin.

As a rule, I'm generally not very optimistic. It's not that I'm a cynic, mind you. I prefer to call myself a realist. But one thing I am optimistic about is that fifty years from now we will look back on this period in our history as a turning point. And, like all turning points, it won't come without a lot of resistance and rancor.  Some people simply hate change. They see it as threat.

But I am comforted in the knowledge that God does not see us as we see each other. In his kingdom, there are no colors or ethnicities or races or genders. We are all his children, loved equally by him and commanded by him to love one another. There are no qualifiers for that love anywhere in scripture. At least none that I've been able to ascertain. If God made us all in his image, then certainly he made gay people as well. That part about do unto others, I'm pretty sure he meant it.

So go on and persist, if you will, in your bitterness and condemnation. I predict it will consume you before too long. But just in case you think you can ride out this self-made storm you have created for yourself, know this: your self righteousness will amount to nothing in the end. Your empty vessels will be filled with the bile of your restless souls.

You may disagree with me which is your right. Just save the judgmental overtures and the lectures for someone who gives a damn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right on, Brother Peter! Right on! (Whew! You must feel great having put this out there.)