It's a Snow Day here in southern New England - el Universidad es cerrada (closed) which means no clase de espanol hoy. Excelente!
My SO has chastised me for not updating my blog every day. She goes into work early every morning to get a head start on the day and apparently reading my blog (and World of Warcraft message boards) has become part of her daily routine.
I admit that after a three week whirlwind of writing my seminary essay, a sermon, and daily blog entries my writing muscles needed a breather.
I've spent my non-writing time reading everyone else's blogs.
Our Episcopalian friends are buzzing about the Anglican Primates report that came out of Tanzania last week that essentially told the American Episcopal church to stop pushing the gay issue and to just put their fingers in their ears, close their eyes and say "la la la I can't hear you" until the mean evil gay people go away and stop inflicting pain on those on God's Faves list.
Fellow RevGalPal blogger Feminary rightfully questions just who it is experiencing the most pain in this debacle.
During the 2004 presidential election my SO and I were sitting in our living room watching yet another right-wing politician foam at the mouth about how letting gay people marry will weaken the sanctity of marriage, tear apart the family structure upon which our country is built, and end civilization as we know it.
There we were sitting in our living room, lounging in our sweatpants, watching TV, reading, playing with the cat, thinking about what to make for dinner and writing a shopping list, and I turned to my SO and said: "It's amazing that with all the violence, war, terrorist acts, poverty, abuse, oppression, and corruption in this world, that some people actually believe that what you and I are doing right now will be the cause of civilization's downfall." Our being a couple doing ordinary everyday couple things, is so frightening to some people that they put all of their time, energy, and money into fighting any law or institution that dares to recognize our right to live and love like everyone else.
As I read about the Anglican Primates meeting in Tanzania I couldn't help but cringe at the irony of location of a side trip taken by the bishops, some of whom do not recognize the ordination of women let alone gays:
"In between their debates, the leaders took a two-hour ferry ride to the island of Zanzibar. There they worshiped at the historic Anglican cathedral which is built over a former slave market. The service marked 100 years since the last slave was sold on the site, and 200 years since slavery was outlawed in England, thanks in part to the efforts of Anglican Church members."
Apparently the Bible is infallible when it comes to teachings about women and homosexuals, but that old bugaboo known as slavery, which the Bible condones and promotes, is no longer valid in our time and its demise is rightfully celebrated.
Why is one form of Biblically endorsed bigotry and oppression taken as a God-given directive while another is written off as simply the socio-economical custom of an ancient time that is no longer applicable in the modern world?
Liberal Christians are often accused of picking and choosing which parts of the Bible to believe but conservative Christians are just as guilty of this cafeteria style of faith. It's impossible not to pick and choose.
Yes, Leviticus says "man shall not lie with man as with a woman" but it also says not to touch the skin of a pig, don't wear clothing made of two different fabrics, and do not commit adultery (unless the woman is a slave, then it's ok) - all of these infractions are punishable by banishment or death.
So much for unfaithful politicians and Friday night football in Texas.
Leviticus is full of rules that we as Christians do not follow - rules about haircuts, tattoos, not touching menstruating women, planting crops at certain distances apart, eating kosher - We don't follow these rules because they were not meant for us. They were meant for the ancient Jewish Levite priestly cast, those born into the priesthood through unbroken hereditary lines.
So why is it that the bit about homosexuality is still quoted ad nauseam by conservative Christian leaders in the 21st century?
And while we're on the subject of biblical authority, why is Paul's first century directive that "women remain silent in church" still being plucked out of context and used as an argument against the ordination of women, when Paul, and Jesus himself, seemed to have no problem with women disciples preaching and teaching the word of God?
My favorite quote of late comes from Brian McLaren's book A Generous Orthodoxy:
"Christianity has successfully dethroned Jesus as Lord…we retained Jesus as Savior but promoted the apostle Paul to Lord and Teacher" (pg. 94).
On the issue of women's place in the church, we place a higher authority on the words of Paul, a convert who never knew Jesus and who preached celibacy because he thought the world was going to end in his lifetime, than we do on the teachings and actions of Jesus himself.
Context. Context. Context. A concept that is rarely invoked when one justifies oppression by invoking the argument "The Bible says…"
BTW - the Bible never mentions lesbians, only men who lie with men, so there is no reason why Ellen Degeneres couldn't be Pope.