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Reconciling On Homosexuality


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I think churches are often a reflection of prevailing attitudes and prejudices. T hey can also very much be the cause at least of continence long after general society has moved on. As they are in this case.

 

My point is that homophobia is not limited to Christians or even religious societies (see USSR and Red China), nor are all Christians homophobic. Therefore, the underlying attitude is independent of religion.

 

But, yes, I agree that religious institutions are often conservative and have embedded certain attitudes in their doctrines. So, they can be a force preserving attitudes of prejudice.

 

George

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George, you are right. I miss-spoke in that 'never.' there were Christians on both sides of those issues and battles, each using religion to support, justify, and attempt to advance their cause. At the end of it, we looking back upon any such times, that or any other involving such conflict, I suspect there is a tendency to more readily embrace that the "side that won" was the "right" one, and assume that we would have been on the "right" side had we been there.

It is likely an exercise towar potential positive growth to really try to look at past events, situations, with honest self-examination, just where would we have really been if we had been there? Whether among the people living in any past era in our own country's history, or even among the cast of thousands in the NT accounts, in regards and relationship to Jesus and his teachings at the time. We really don't want to think ourselves having perhaps been one shouting 'crucify him! crucify him!" We all want to beleive we would have been one of the faithful, the wise, the one annointing his dead hours before his ordeal, or discovering the empty tomb.

The worst many of us steeped in the traditions of these accounts can usually imagine ourselves as are Peter in his moments of weakness, denying him, or perhaps doubting Thomas.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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Never? How about abolitionists and Civil Rights movement? Martin Luther King was an ordained pastor. And, he was supported by a number of white Christians and Jews.

 

I might replace the word never with seldom . In MLK's "Letter From The Birmingham Jail" he expressed his profound disappointment in the white churches response to the civil rights movement.

 

honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

 

As to you last observation, I'm not at all sure how to consider that....I know from many different situations involving young people from children in early elementary through high school ages, that taunting and cruelty and even obsession with homophobia is horrible and wide-spread, even pervasive. I have little grandkids in even the earliest grades experiencing cruel tauting and bullying and homosexual slurs long before they even had any idea at all what homosexual, or even sexual, even is.

 

I should have clarified that the group I was speaking to were in their mid to late 20's past the time when they have begun to think for themselves. The homophobia of those through high school especially grade school are more a function of their parents as they have not yet begun to question.

 

I do agree this is a societal problem not limited to the church. My comments are aimed at the church because that is my audience. We each (both individually and institutionally) are asked to make moral judgments. In my estimation the moderate church is guilty of failing to take a stand and letting our conservative brothers and sisters control the Christian response.

 

steve

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Steve Wrote: I do agree this is a societal problem not limited to the church. My comments are aimed at the church because that is my audience

 

But we can't divorce the social from the church. I think that's what MLK was trying to say, too. In the matter of children taunting other children at school, the homophobia, these children aren't arising and emerging from some primordial soup somewhere, they are coming out of families, many of which ARE christians, who ARE attending church. The church IS one ofthe significance sources of these children's worldview. As MLK moderate white people churches sat quiet, holding itself apart from the struggle, and those white people walked out of church on Sunday and went and sat quiet and apart from the struggle during the rest of their week, as well.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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But we can't divorce the social from the church. I think that's what MLK was trying to say, too. In the matter of children taunting other children at school, the homophobia, these children aren't arising and emerging from some primordial soup somewhere, they are coming out of families, many of which ARE christians, who ARE attending church.

 

I don't exactly agree. Homophobia is not limited to Christians and not all Christians are homophobic. Therefore the underlying cause of homophobia is not Christianity or Judaism.

 

Children can be very cruel about anyone who is different in any way. Humans have a natural inclination to avoid and devalue those who are different, 'not normal' whether foreign, mentally ill, deformed or whatever. Reproduction is important in every species including humans. So, matters that involve sex, particularly non-standard sex, are natural candidates for taboos.

 

However, obviously this inclination is not determinative and the church can play an important role in promoting or discouraging this attitude. And, the fact the we have hateful inclinations is no justification.

 

George

 

P.S. Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis) says this about the basic emotion of disgust, "Disgust plays a role in sexuality . . . by guiding people to the narrow class of culturally acceptable sexual partners and sexual acts."

Edited by GeorgeW
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I don't exactly agree. Homophobia is not limited to Christians and not all Christians are homophobic. Therefore the underlying cause of homophobia is not Christianity or Judaism.

 

Children can be very cruel about anyone who is different in any way. Humans have a natural inclination to avoid and devalue those who are different, 'not normal' whether foreign, mentally ill, deformed or whatever. Reproduction is important in every species including humans. So, matters that involve sex, particularly non-standard sex, are natural candidates for taboos.

 

However, obviously this inclination is not determinative and the church can play an important role in promoting or discouraging this attitude. And, the fact the we have hateful inclinations is no justification.

 

George

 

P.S. Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis) says this about the basic emotion of disgust, "Disgust plays a role in sexuality . . . by guiding people to the narrow class of culturally acceptable sexual partners and sexual acts."

I think I agree GeorgeW. I think all has its time and churches often reflected what was in society. I can see it in other things too. The church used to justify slavery and the slave trade but when society changed its view on this those of the church majority also changed. There were some who objected to the change and some who led the change, I doubt things like the inquisition could have possibly occured without the support of the society around at the time. I think that is what is happening now. I believe there is a changing of the type of reasoning coming to the for in society and the old notions about homosexuality are slowly being debunked. There are some in the church unable to catch up with the change in societies values and there are those like the groups I have mentioned earlier who have seen the light and are taking a lead in that change. Lets not forget that the bible's approach to homosexuality was also based on the values of the society the writers came from. I do not think there is anything wrong in growing towards greater understanding and the faith evolving. I think God's Spirit leads us sometimes by the hand, heart, and even sometimes by society. It is happening over issue like women ministers and also over the Gay and Lesbian movement.

It is the changing values of society that leds me to think that the main church will change. I think eventually it will be a stark choice of change or lose all its support and credibility. There is a connection (IMO).

Edited by Pete
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I think all has its time and churches often reflected what was in society.

 

Right on. Our worldview motivates our religion. This is why we find diverse forms of Christianity, Judaism and Islam - from fundamentalist to progressive. If we are religiously inclined, we will find a form of religion that suits our worldview.

 

It is no coincidence that progressive Christians tend to be progressive socially and politically or that fundamentalist Christians are conservative socially and politically.

 

As you have said, change society and the religion will follow.

 

George

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From own post above: they are coming out of families, many of which ARE christians, who ARE attending church. The church IS one of the significance sources of these children's worldview

 

Note I said 'many of which....etc" Not all.

Note I said the church is ONE of the signficant courses, not all.

 

from George's post:Children can be very cruel about anyone who is different in any way. Humans have a natural inclination to avoid and devalue those who are different, 'not normal' whether foreign, mentally ill, deformed or whatever. Reproduction is important in every species including humans. So, matters that involve sex, particularly non-standard sex, are natural candidates for taboos.

 

It as often as not has little or nothing to do with anyone who is different in any way. It is just as often, if not more often, simply I don't like you or you may be weaker than me. I can belittle, shame, and embarrass you, even make others not like you.

Much of the taunting and bullying as name calling involved things not even applicable or true of the traget, the victim. My 8 and 10 yr old grandsons started dealing with being called queer and fag and gay by other kids from the time they began school, creating a difficult situation in even trying to 'explain' to them what those terms mean, when they didn't even know what sex was yet, beyond there are boys/men and girls/women and the same for dogs and other animals, male and female. And nothing about either of them gives any "suggestion" they are "gay." Likewise, my 6 yr old grand daughter has, from her start in school, confonted us with similar issues trying to help her deal with being called things like whore and other degrading terms for women. This is pervasive...a kid stocky built is taunted as fat, one slender build as being a skinny weakling, on and on. Not to even get into economic class, race and ethnicity and religious background or affiliation. No-count illegal Mexicans taking our jobs and getting welfare handouts, terrorist Muslims, lazy bums that are poor cause they won't work....and they are hearing, learning the use of such degradations of others, from their church-going parents, even IN the churches. I've heard it from the pulpit, oh, yes, usually with some attempt to carefully disquise it, conceal superficially what it is. Maybe even from themselves.

SOME churches. SOME people, SOME families. But more common than most seem to want to recognize or acknowledge. Any can argue that if they like, but I've observed it, heard it, openly, in some churches and among some "churched" people myself. Regularly.

 

And as MLK said, mant that don't do it still sit back, quiet, do nothing, say oh, we can't tell others how to talk and act, thereby facilitating those that do. I've gotten up and walked out on that kind of stuff. Usually get laughed at and told I'm too sensitive, too politically correct, too self-righteous and thinking myself goody-goody, while they snicker among themselves. If all the sitting back quiet, not engaging, had done the same, maybe those engaging would start feeling some discomfort.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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I know you have a point Jenell because I suffered it as a child growing up with problems with my legs and walking with a limp. Yet, at the same time I never knew of anyone who mentioned gay people until the last thirty or so years. Gay and Lesbian respect is on the agenda and children will follow the lead of parents and sometimes even lead. I am sure the stick in the mud dogma pushers will use whatever they can to stop that process but it will change and like you I do not believe in being silent.

There are inspiring stories that come to the news.

http://www.dailyreco...86908-23696624/

 

Things like this was unheard of when I was at school. I watched this on the news and the interesting thing was the pupils sided against the teacher's ban. One pupil said on the TV that "this sort of prejudice belongs to the teachers generation. It does not belong to ours." That gives me hope.

Edited by Pete
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  • 2 weeks later...

I believe in progressive revelation. So in one sense it doesn't matter what the Bible says. Within the Bible itself there is evidence of progressive revelation. After the Ten Commandments the death penalty became the rule for breaking the sabbath. Jesus doesn't see it that way. It did take me ten years to arrive at this position.

 

Dutch

 

I have not heard of progressive revelation. I'd love to hear more about it and how you came to that position.

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2 examples from the Bible

Cp Sabbath laws of Hebrew Bible with what Jesus says

 

Even in the Hebrew Bible alone cp change uncleaness of eunuchs. Early in the Scriptures they are forbidden from entering the temple. Later God's words through Isaiah invites them in because they follow sabbath law. Change over time. The evolution of God's revelation. If it happens within the Bible my conclusion is that it is still happening.

 

I hope haven't made too many typos from phone. More later

 

Dutch

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I think progressive revelation has much to do with two factors at work:

One, increasing, expanding knowledge, understanding, and awareness on part of the people of a society, as well as within any individual, and, two, actual changes in the world they live in, changes in our environment, material reality.

I see progressive revelation as the process of adjusting our thinking, beliefs, attitudes, to those changes occruing both within and without.

Jenell

 

Ps...after a moment of thought on it, I think as how I describe above my understanding of progressive revelation, I'd have to say that also pretty much sums up how I see what progressive Christianity is to me, as well as entirely relevant to my own journey of personal growth.

Edited by JenellYB
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(I think this is Methodist.) Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience - each of these contribute to an understanding of Scripture in today's world. Although Scripture is primary the others re-envision its application in each era. This was part of Jesus' ministry - always expanding the circle, stretching the way things used to be.

 

Whitehead, in process theology, and biological evolution both require a new thing for value to be added to the world. This is not new for novelty's sake; it is about death and resurrection - for us each day - to bring in a new thing, a fresh expression of love. " He who has began a new work in you . . ."

 

Dutch

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methodist....I've never been to a methodist, or around many methodist, but was introduced to the "Wesleyan Quadrangle" as a method of examining and testing interpretation and application of scipture and doctrine, and some principles of utilizing it, and found it very helpful. Whether I actually 'lay out' that quandrangle or not, I often find myself processing ideas and concepts drawn from scriputure according to it's form, trying to bring my conclusion as close as possible to that intersect point in the middle.

on the quadrangle as I was introduced to it, it was scripture-->tradition-->experience-->reason--> back to --> scripture, to begin the process again.

Edited by JenellYB
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  • 5 weeks later...

For me personally, homosexuallity is a non issue. That is easy for me to say because I am not being persicuted for my sexuality. I'd like to say education or something like that would fix this prejudice but it is not as simple as that - my father being an example of an educated individual with a strong homophobic streak thrown in. It doesn't matter what I say to him in relation to his views not being consistant with modern society, his views remain the same. No quick fix then.

 

If only Christians could be more like Christ.

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