Thursday, February 28, 2008
I just don't get it....
Our friends in the Episcopal Church continue to have their hands full with those rouge congregations who have carried through on their threat to quit the ECUSA. After pouting and holding their breath because the bible-busting liberals had gone and ordained (gasp!) gay and lesbian clergy and then (shriek!) had the gall to push the bar even further by installing non-celibate gay bishops, and (ack!) don’t even get me started on the fact that they went ahead and elected a WOMAN as the grand-poobah of the whole ECUSA shebang….the dissenting congregations finally threw up their hands, took their ball, and announced for all to hear that if the lefty-libbies didn’t play the game by their rules then they would just march on home and find someone else who would.
So off they went to join the renegade cool kids gang, known as the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, and they now bow to the will of Nigerian archbishop Peter Akinola… a lovely little man who believes that all homosexuals should be rounded up and imprisoned for the hateful crime they have committed against society…you know, the crime of loving, living, breathing…
Not content with removing their bodies and their pledge units from the ECUSA, the 11 congregations who dissented in Virginia are now embroiled in a court battle to keep the 30 million dollars in church property that rightfully belongs to the ECUSA (see story here.)
In other words, they don’t want to play with the liberal leaning Christians, but that doesn’t mean they should have to give up their pretty little church buildings and all the shiny baubles contained within that they’ve come to know and love.
The dissenters expect to spend as much as 3-5 million dollars on litigation that could take as long as three years to complete.
Does anyone else recognize the cognitive dissonance that arises with this little situation???
Here we have a group of religious people who are so committed to following the literal and inerrant Word of God as presented in scripture, that they’re willing to uproot entire congregations and spend millions of dollars to ensure they stay on the course that God had intended. The problem is, they’ve chosen to hinge their entire point of battle on a handful of biblical passages that (supposedly) declare homosexuality as a sin and prohibit the ordination of women.
In all, we’re talking about less than five scriptural passages.
...One line in the priestly laws of Leviticus, the explanation of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, one paragraph in Paul’s letter to the Romans, and the line in 1 Corinthians that prohibits women from speaking in church…(which BTW contradicts Paul’s earlier assertion that women as well as men were meant to prophesize God’s word and has led some scholars to declare that 1 Corinthians was not written by Paul but by a later follower with a different agenda).
So, on one side of the scale we have a set of passages that are either of questionable origin or are open to multiple interpretations, and would fill only a half a page if listed together.
On the other side of the scale we have all the biblical passages that speak directly of compassion, love, mercy, judge-not-yet-ye-be-judged, the unity of the church, how one hand has to work with the other not against it, not to mention all the flat out commands contained in both the Old and the New Testament to give to the poor, feed the hungry, liberate the oppressed, etc. etc.
This is a lopsided scale indeed.
Yet somehow our rouge ex-Episcopalians have chosen to ignore the heavy side of the scale and have placed all their energy and righteous rage on the side that could be blown away in one breath.
In direct violation of the words of Christ himself, who said “whatever you do to the least among us, you do to me,” these 11 congregations have aligned themselves with a Nigerian faction bent on exclusion (at the least) and imprisonment and death (at the worst) of those whom they have judged to be morally corrupt (again, on the basis of a handful of scriptural passages).
And to further confound true Christian sensibilities, they’ve chosen to take 5 million dollars that could be spent on the aforementioned poor, hungry and oppressed, and use it instead to line the pockets of lawyers in a fight to keep their buildings and baubles.
This is a group of Christians who have chosen to put their numbers and their weight on the lesser side of the scale in an effort to tip it towards their side, to make it seem as if they are fighting for the sanctity of the Bible, for the Word of God Himself.
Never mind that most of the Bible they’re defending is lying ignored on the other side of the scale…
And that this portion of the Bible contains a weight that they will never be able to counter balance, regardless of how many obscure Priestly laws or suspect Pauline letters they try to pull onto their side….that is the Word, the weight, of Jesus Christ Himself.
It seems overly simple to me, but even if one believes in the marrow of one’s bones that homosexuality is a sin based on a handful of God’s words, one must look at the tidal wave of love and compassion contained in all of God’s other words, and one has no choice but to leave the judging of others to God…and get on with the lifting up of others; those who have fallen and those who have been pushed down by human hands.
And nowhere, NOWHERE, in the Bible does God/Jesus give us permission to be the ones doing the pushing.
That alone should tell us that we have no right to be playing with the scales in the first place.