GAY marriage & divorcing churches

         I was asked to read this article and give a reflection on it.  I have indeed read the article and am struck by the alarmist behavior that is predicated by the positions offered here.

         I will first offer that I am far in favor of a Biblical interpretation and witness that is all encompassing and contextually revealed.  I do think that the issue and matter of Gay Marriage and full inclusion of the GLBT community will inevitably split the church.

         I find it tragic that many folks including Rev. Mohler and Fr. Kurtz uphold the idea that to offer equal rights to the GLBT community is an affront to their religious freedoms.  Fr. Kurtz offers this in regards to the litigation occurring in this nation to secure equal rights for the GLBT community, “With regard to marriage, this implicates the right of Catholics to practice our beliefs. Here we are talking about the bedrock of society, it’s not just a belief, it’s written on the hearts of every human person.  I wonder dear father why you uphold marriage as the sacred cow in this nation?  With a divorce rate that exceeds over half of marriages implicating the straight practitioners of this most holy f institutions with a failing grade.  What are you protecting as the bedrock of society?

         There is a problem with this argument when used to secure rights for a selective group of people.  The problem lies in the assertion of right practice and right belief.  Those that have either right practice or right belief are cool and the rest of us that do not act like, look like, or be like “them” then we are on the outside looking in of a Holy Ghost invasion and therefore are abandoned to an eternity of damnation and fire.

Rev. Mohler pulls back the covers on this issue in saying, “it will expose a great divide over the authority of the Bible among many Christian churches and denominations — perhaps in a way exceeding any other issue.  The divide is not a matter of right anything.  This is an issue of control and social norms and sources.  Right here Mohler calls it out, “the authority of the Bible.”  This can be read as what do you interpret from scripture and how closely does it adhere to what “we” adhere to determines wither you are holding proper Biblical authority.

He goes on to say, “”Other denominations are tottering on the brink, and without a massive conservative resistance, they are almost certain to abandon biblical truth and bless what the Bible condemns. Within a few short years, a major dividing line has become evident — with those churches endorsing homosexuality on one side, and those stubbornly resisting the cultural tide on the other.”  Let this read if you support a fully inclusive God and interpretation of scripture that asserts equality to all then you are an outsider.  The language being used is that of warmongers and bigots…resistance.  We abandon Biblical truth when we assert inclusivity.  Phuck you and your intolerant bullshit. 

I can stomach the difference of opinion.  But when you question my faith and assert that I am propagating a theology based in lies, misinterpretations, and an abandonment of Biblical truth you and I are finished with the conversation.  Is there room in your authority for tolerance, conversation, and mutual exploration of divine truth?  I bet not.  You are afraid of revelation and the certainty of your thought leads to pride and self-destruction as sure as my progressive, liberal interpretation leads me to conviction to love, serve, and accept all.

         Yes I believe it is time for denominations to split.  We have allowed the systemic oppression of the GLBT community far to long.  It is my hope and prayer that equal rights to all become this nations legacy.  We will send thousands of our soldiers to die for freedom in other countries and keep a population here in modern America away from that same freedom we freely offer with the blood of our children.

         It is time for denominations to agree to disagree and part ways.  There is not much you can do to convince me that my faith based in inclusivity is wrong.  I am done trying to convince you.

         I see a time when faith community is pitted against faith community in its support of Gay Marriage.  I am fine with this, as equal rights for the GLBT community is not a matter of religious freedom.  It is a matter of civil rights and equal and fair representation for all Americans.  The church has no place in that debate.

10 thoughts on “GAY marriage & divorcing churches

  1. Mohler rhymes with bowler. he wins every time. We need a progressive faith coalition to go on The Ellen Show and offer a vision to reflect the beauty, diversity, love, and inclusion of all to reflect the exclusion, anger, arrogance, and homogeny that Mohler entertains.

  2. Mark T. says:

    I am a student at Southern Seminary. So yes, despite your calls for inclusion, you are going to hate me. At the same time, I am not so naive as to be an apologist for every public statement that is made by Dr. Mohler.

    Your post is as intolerant and extremist as those whose views you wish to disagree with. Anyone who has had personal encounters with Dr. Mohler would understand that he is a kind, considerate, and gentle man. Such caricatures that you advocate are as false as the inclusionary hermeneutic you believe to be correct.

    There is nothing in what you have written that would aide my thinking that you have any understanding of biblical authority, emphasis on BIBLICAL. I would challenge you to read Richard Hays’ chapter on Homosexuality. He represents the finest NT scholarship currently around and soundly refutes and disagrees with your embarrassingly subjective hermeneutic.

    Secondly, marriage is one particular bedrock of society. Arguing as you do, that the abuse and failure of marriages then abrogates the sacredness of the institution is not only sociologically wrong but logically embarrassing.

    Regarding “Right practice and right belief.” Please know, that in your affirmation of homosexuality, you are standing outside 2000 years of both doctrinal and ecclesial orthodoxy. Oh, but wait, Christian history is full of bigots, right?

    Secondly, you logic is incomplete and entails a non-sequitor. Disagreeing over the acceptance of homosexuality does not logically infer intolerance or harassment on our part. I have ministered to young men who have struggled with homosexuality and my counsel was not received with a glaringly cute reply, such as yours, of “Phuck you.”

    You are unhesitatingly correct about one thing—churches should split over this issue. In line with Dr. Mohler, there can be no fellowship if there is no agreement on this issue. I am glad that I do not go to church with you. I am saddened, however, that individuals like yourself propose to be in ministry. As even the liberal Niebuhr once remarked, people like yourself, “preach about a God without wrath who bring a people without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

    So, in honor of your own extremely mature and pastorally-sensitive demeanor, “Phuck you,” too.

  3. grant pappan says:

    I am so glad I am not a “Christian”. I could not believe in a God whom would not love all of what it created. To condemn someone because they do what all hearts do and love is wrong. I am a Straight Male, and can say I feel that it is time to redefine what masculinity is, to unburden and share what is given to us. I am reminded of when near the begging of the last century women fought for the right to vote. We as a country where at the brink of a war in which we were going to fight for the rights of Europeans because we wanted to spread democracy, all the while citizens of this Great Nation where not equal. This hypocrisy leads to a giant step in Equal Rights. Now we are at a cross roads, and fighting yet another war, for people we have brought Democracy to, again while we have citizens who are denied basic civil rights. The right to be human, the right to love, to truly be American. We are a democracy, not a theocracy, we have a clear line between church and state, who are we to use our religious dogma to define civil rights? If you don’t agree with someone marrying someone of the same sex, than don’t marry someone of the same sex, by no means does this infringe on your rights, however by being denied the right to marry someone you love, same sex couples are denied the simple rights straight couples take for granted. Just live and let live.

  4. Karen says:

    Although I am a seminary graduate, I do not claim to be a Biblical scholar, however, I came upon a Bible verse that speaks to me in light of the ongoing debate/argument that rages on in many denominations including my own PC(USA). 1 Samuel 16: 6-7 is part of the story of Samuel anointing David,

    When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

    This makes me wonder if we in our brokenness focus on the outward appearance, on other’s brokenness. I believe that we are called to treat one another as children of God and in that we need to look for the Christ in others. When I look to the Christ in others, I am drawn to look at their heart and not the brokenness of their humanity. I just wish I could do a better job of always seeing the Christ in others, because all too often, my own humanity gets in the way.

  5. This notion of biblical authority continues to be a strange one since it is rooted in an extra biblical criteria of orthodoxy. I have covered every issue in my blog that the anonymous Mark T. raises. They are tired assertions really.

    Jack Rogers, Stacy Johnson and others also offer a balanced argument on the opposite end of the spectrum with enough evidence to destabilize the 2000 tradition of the church that not taking those positions seriously is evidence of an ideological commitment forcing counter-factual claims to assimilate or go away. The idea that when scripture was canonized the revelation of God and the work of a living Christ stopped save that canon seems to be an absurdity based on the God we learn of in the text itself. That canon was pieced together by scholars over along periods of time out of mostly fragments discovered in various places at various times about very different groups of people, cultures, etc. who each had radically different understandings of God. You can’t wave a magic wand and make it all fit together in perfect harmony because you think that if you don’t God is a liar. Hogwash. The message is that God reveals God’s self in the midst of our frailties and our rejection of God and that God continues to pursue us even though we continue to worship other Gods, including our own theological systems which we are sooo proud and haughty over. Paul would not be please which is almost needless to say.

    The commentator mentions logical issues here, but the appeals to tradition as if our traditions are immutable media to structure God’s activity in the world. The work of Jesus disagrees with this position quite clearly enough.

    Claiming that marriage is a bedrock of society is nice to say from again an ideological position. But the status of marriage now hold this to be a doubtful claim to make. Families are the bedrock of society and there are sociological arguments that are statistically significant to support this, since the commentator wishes to offer sociological commentary. But there is no significant difference in gender in objective studies (not by groups like FRC or NOM who claim objectivity but are sadly not). It is nurture that accounts for the variance and this will continue to be an externally valid result as more studies on same gender parenting are conducting. If the commentator has found peer reviewed evidence in other studies I am interested. Good luck on your research.

    If you do not accept homosexuality, you do not accept people nor will they feel welcome. Period. Therefore, it is not a non-sequitur if one understands the categories correctly. Theology is only abstract for those who delude themselves into thinking that it is not. Theology is inherently political especially in regard to this issue since our theological claims affect who can participate in the life of the body of Christ and who cannot.

    So let’s get off this ideological bandwagoning and ask the pastoral questions: Can a same gender couple receive the love of Christ in the midst of their relationship? Can their acceptance of their same gender attraction free them to experience the love of God and commune with God through the Spirit? This is something you can affirm or deny. Denial leads to abstract conclusions that simply do not make sense (it must not be God but “something else”, they must be delusional, it is a trick of Satan, etc.) Affirming this is possible, not a necessary attribute of same gender love but possible, then we are obligated by the work of God in our midst to learn what new thing God is doing.

    See, the revelation in Scripture is a sign for the kind of God that shatters our sorry and limited conceptions of what God does in our midst. People rejected Christ and we have this selfish and dare I say idolatrous notion that if Christ visited us in the same way that the Church would not kill him again. Niebuhr also argued for progressive revelation and the relative nature of history to the work of God. If Christ by the power of the Spirit is present in the love of two people who happen to be of the same gender, then I want to be there lest I grieve the Holy Spirit, that is, if God truly is Love.

    For all of these reasons the commentator has deluded himself into thinking that he has found some immutable truth couched uncovered in the walls of fundamentalism. Perhaps that is not truth, but a reflection of a fallen humanity that still cannot receive what God wants to give us. Perhaps those gay people who seek public legitimation of love have learned to receive it better than the heterosexuals who have abused the meaning of marriage as is clearly evident. Perhaps it is gay people who will heal the meaning of marriage for all people. To say that this is not possible is to ignore the unconventional and unexpected media and people that God uses all throughout the Bible.

  6. I hate to be a party pooper. Drew I love your words and Ryan I love the post.

    I do have a couple of things to say.

    @grant “who are we to use our religious dogma to define civil rights? ”
    it was because of religious dogma or at least the theology of equality that led many including Martin Luther King to champion the civil rights movement, but maybe I’m just being too picky.

    re Mark T–I couldn’t disagree more with his post or apparent stance on homosexuality and gay marriage, but I do see his point. Many liberals I know including myself are often accepting of everyone but conservatives. I think this is a mistake and it ends up weakening the gospel that I believe in. If I do not listen to, engage respectfully with, and love in spite of our differences my conservative brothers and sisters then I am like a banging drum or a clanking cymbal. But if I listen, dialogue with, and respect others even in the face of hatred and violence then I believe I am living out the example of Christ on the cross. That may be a little much comparing my actions to Jesus but I think you get the point.

    Finally, @karen, I had not thought of that passage, your brief description is brilliant and I plan to study that passage more closely in the future.


  7. grant pappan says:

    I am not attacking religion, right and wrong is not exclusive to religion. There is morality without religion. My point with that is, who are we to force our beliefs on to others for the sake of morality. I am not judging those who believe, and all I ask is not to be judged. Many people religious or otherwise have been part of the fight for civil rights.

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