Boswell, History, and Theology: the preface.

John BoswellSo often, the preface isn’t all that important, and it is easy to skip ahead to where the actual book begins and start reading, but in the case of Boswell’s “Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century,” that would be a mistake. The premise laid out within his preface is crucially important to grasp , and so I want to devote this first post to those four and a half pages. This is important, and if we don’t come to terms with what this means, we won’t really be able to put the rest of the book to much use. For this post, I used Boswell’s original paperbound book, copyright 1980.

History and the role of the historian

One of the most important statements made by Boswell within this entire book begins the preface:

“No matter how much historians and their readers may wish to avoid contaminating their understanding of the past with the values of the present, they can not ignore the fact that both writer and reader are inevitably affectedly the assumptions and beliefs of the age(s) in which they write and read.”

We don’t tend to think of that however, either while writing or as a reader. History, we tell ourselves, is a set of facts and so they are what they are, no matter who is telling them, when and for what reason, right?  Not according to Boswell: both the writer and the reader carry all sorts of stuff to the text- to the history- and considering what these things may be is essential to understanding the text and history. To some, this may seem obvious, but in a huge way it isn’t and leads to false ideas, or is intentionally overlooked, again leading to false ideas. Why is this important? He writes:

“If religious texts are widely supposed to have been the origin of a medieval prejudice, their role in determining the attitude in question must be carefully understood.”

Today, the morality of homosexuality is the issue, and too much of the dialogue revolves around the question, ‘are religious ideas the basis for discrimination against homosexuality and gay and lesbian people.’ Boswell doesn’t set out to argue the morality of homosexuality, rather his goal is to illuminate ideas about homosexuality in the period from the beginning of Christianity until the fourteenth century, not to speak either for or against them.

History is not theology

Two points are at the center of his work in this book:

  1. To display that what may have seemed to be the source of antipathy  in the past, often was not;
  2. To clarify the differences between ancient objections to homosexuality and modern objections.

Now many readers, and I include myself in that group when I first read this book, simply want Boswell to tell us that theologians have had it wrong all along and the Bible isn’t negative about gay and lesbian people. But we aren’t going to get that from Boswell or this book if that is what we are looking for. We will get something far more important if we are open to it and willing to do the work for it. Because the argument, “The Bible is this or isn’t this” is a useless argument because we will never come to any final outcome: we will simply spin our wheels, and at the same time allow those who claim the Bible is anti-gay to have more power than they deserve.  When we begin to demystify the Bible and the history of it- the historical reasons it is what it is, then the text itself loses all of that magic mojo that the opponents of the LGBTQ movement try to use against us.

People object to or support the full acceptance of gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and queer people. They may use the Bible as a weapon to support their position of opposition, but it only has as much power as we allow it. One of the strongest arguments that the anti-gay people use, is that culture, and especially Christian culture has always felt this way about gay people, but is this really true? Or are oppositions that exist now a modern thing, not well supported by the past.

Methodology and the reader

Before we dig into the meat of the book, just a word about methodology. Boswell heavily footnotes his text: what are we as readers to take from that, or how are we to read that? It almost becomes two texts: the book itself, and the footnotes. Unlike some books where the footnotes are only citations supporting where claims or ideas come from, in this text, they go a bit beyond that. Sometimes they are small forays into a tangential discussion. For example, in the Introduction, footnote #2 is a wildly interesting aside about social tolerance, intolerance and acceptance. My personal suggestion is to read the text at least twice. The first time through, ignore the footnotes. Then, read through the footnotes and refer back to the text where each is cited as you go. And lastly, sometimes it will be helpful re-read portions of the text itself after considering the footnote.

Lastly, my suggestion is to do what I’m doing here to a degree, and make notes as you read. Jot down phrases, words, or short sentences that summarize what you are reading. Do it, as you read- don’t wait to get to the end of a chapter to jot some things down.The idea isn’t to merely spend the time to get from page 1 to page whatever. Rather it is to end up with a new appreciation, awareness or understanding from that time spent. This doesn’t have to be like school. No one is going to test you. But you will leave the experience happier and perhaps smarter.

New Series: The Bible and Homosexuality

John BoswellBeginning June 1st, I’m starting a new series and invite my blog readers to join me in a book study and discussion regarding what the Bible says about homosexuality. Issues surrounding Gay Rights and the morality of same-sex marriage as well as homosexuality itself will remain front page news as more and more US States accept same-sex marriage, and everyone who cares about this Justice issue ought to be able to converse about what the Bible does and doesn’t say, even those who do not believe in the importance of the Bible.

Those who oppose same-sex marriage and the general acceptance of the LGBT Community, claim that what the Bible says is crystal clear, but there is scholarly work done that sheds different light on the subject. John Boswell’s seminal work, “Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century” calls into question many of the ideas scholars and theologians have had about the subject. His book is not the easiest read, full of footnotes and written with a depth that allows it to be considered solid scholarship. But it is a valuable read none the less. So, get a copy of the book, and join me! Each week or so, I’ll post as I read through the book, cover to cover, exploring Boswell’s ideas. Read with me, or merely join the discussion offering your comments each week to my blog posts.

One might say, that what the Bible says is irrelevant given that here in the US, the Constitution is the basis of our laws and civil culture. But 100% of the vitriol and opposition to the full respect and equality for gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and queer persons is rooted in and supported by the use of this ancient text. We can expect the opposition to remain vocal, loud, and will grow only more hostile as same-sex marriage gets accepted everywhere. But full respect, inclusion, and equality is not a done deal here in the United States, and across the globe, there are many places more hostile towards LGBTQ folks. Our ability to counter the opposition is essential.

I’ll be using an electronic ebook from the University of Chicago Press. The book is available from them as a paperback, or as a download. It is also available for rent from your local library as well as purchase from other sources. You may be like me and have an original copy on the bookshelf as well. Get it down and read along with me.

Boswell died too soon, and I don’t believe anyone has really followed his lead in this area of scholarship. I won’t simply take his word as if he is definitely correct and thousands of years of the status quo are simply wrong in their understanding, but asking why Boswell has arrived at his conclusions and how they differ from traditional ideas will be the basis of discussion.

Are you ready for this series? I hope so! Summer is a perfect time to sit back with a book,so I hope you will choose this one and read along. Then each week participate in our discussion here about what I’ve read.

 

The basis of Christianity and Scott Lively.

Earlier, I wrote about evangelical pastor, Scott Lively who is in court facing charges of crimes against humanity. The Liberty Counsel, who is defending him claims:

The suit is a direct attempt to silence Rev. Lively and intimidate other pastors against teaching the Biblical position on homosexuality. Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, “This lawsuit against Rev. Scott Lively is a gross attempt to use a vague international law to silence, and eventually criminalize, speech by U.S. citizens on homosexuality and moral issues. This suit should cause everyone to be concerned, because it a direct threat against freedom of speech.”

However, Scott Lively’s involvement in Uganda is seen as foundational to what has been deemed the Ugandan, “Kill the Gays” bill, where a person suspected of being gay can be punished with the death penalty.

The point I want to draw here is for Christians and non-believers alike. I believe this case encapsulates very clearly  the problem Christianity is facing, and individuals like Scott Lively are destroying Christianity as they distort the very basis of the Faith tradition.  

Consider, where in the New Testament, the foundation of Christianity, do we find anything that would suggest the death penalty (perpetrated by the Government) for gay people? If faith in the Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis of Christianity, there is no way to see Scott Lively’s missionary work and its result as connected to Christianity.

The battle against homosexuality by so-called Christians is firmly rooted in the Old Testament and not in Jesus Christ in any way. For Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council, the basis for the fight against homosexuality and same-sex marriage is in the Book of Genesis.

Bauer said that the court dismissed the “consent of the governed” and “rejected thousands of years of Judeo-Christian understanding” in their rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. “It seems as though America is on the verge of criminalizing the Book of Genesis,”

10 CommandmentsNow, I respect anyone’s right to their own religious perspective, but that is limited to how they choose to live their own life. The desire to force others to live by their beliefs goes far beyond and can not be misconstrued as “Christian” in any way.

As a general whole, Christianity is declining with fewer and fewer self-identifying as Christians except in growing third-world areas like Africa where this misguided and non-Christlike brand of legalist propaganda is being used to manipulate and control people. For real Christians who seek a personal salvation in Christ, it is time to wake up and recognize how hate-mongers are killing Christianity by a hate-filled focus.

Theologians have for centuries discussed to relationship of the Old and New Testaments. Jesus himself is quoted as talking about how the “Law and the Prophets” are affected by his “new” teachings. And the Early Church is documented as struggling with the role of Hebrew Laws for Gentile Christians and believers as a whole. In some regard, this is nothing new. What is new however, is the dramatic decline of Christians. Will Christianity survive abuses of Faith by individuals like Lively and Bauer, or will they lead to the Fall of a Faith doctrine that grew from hope and the belief in eternal life?

Note:

Critics are likely to point out that there is New Testament Scripture that supposedly condemns homosexuals. Id ask those individuals to consider:

  • Read the New Testament in the original language in which it was written.  There is no word for homosexual to be found there. The English term “homosexual” is a mistranslation of several other terms and they describe very specific same-sex sexual practices, not homosexuality in general, and most certainly not Gay people we we understand what Gay means today.
  • It can be argued that Paul cites that arsenokoitai and malakoi will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It in no way suggests that individuals have a right to tell others what they can or can not do, or whom they can or can not love.
  • Remember, Paul wasn’t right about everything. He was one man expressing his ideas, nothing more. Really.

 

 

Do Gays Need A Church Of Their Own Anymore?

RACHEL ZOLL writes an interesting piece at HuffPost Religion. I don’t think she really answers the question. Writing about MCC, the article is still a very good read.

MCC now has a presence in dozens of U.S. states as well as overseas, reporting a total membership of more than 240 congregations and ministries. But as acceptance of same-sex relationships grows – gay and lesbian clergy in many Protestant traditions no longer have to hide their partners or lose their careers, and Christians can often worship openly with their same-gender spouses in the mainline Protestant churches where they were raised – the fellowship is at a crossroads. Is a gay-centered Christian church needed anymore?

I’ve personally had a long and varied path including worship at MCC churches. During college, the Columbus MCC was foundational for me, yet after leaving Columbus, I did not find an MCC that “felt like home” as the Columbus congregation did. While the Pittsburgh congregation was a good size, I never seemed to really fit in there.

About a dozen years ago, a number of folks who were unhappy with MCC joined with a minster couple, and formed a “new” congregation that meant to be non-denominational, and Open Arms Church was born in Pittsburgh. This space was home for a while, until the politics of a church overwhelmed the value of community for me. I think a few things were happening. One, was that while a number of folks who started this group said they didn’t want it to be like MCC, in reality, they did. Did you ever hear that old AA joke? All you need to start a new meeting is a coffee pot and a resentment.

Yet another reality was at work, and one that is most amazing and wonderful. And this is much like any MCC congregation, and how I think MCC was very much like the early house churches of Christianity after the resurrection. The “big deal” is all about growing community, and as a group creating the commonwealth of God. Growing community isn’t clean and neat work. It is exciting and sometimes drama-filled, and inspired, and frustrating and gratitude-producing and wonderful.

If MCC didn’t exist, it is possible that people wouldn’t be willing to try and do this congregation/community growing in such an organic way, and it is questionable how the commonwealth of God would be coming into being. It is also important that many mainline churches are far more accepting of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans persons. Individuals find in these spaces a community too, although it isn’t for everyone.

As far back as I remember, my MCC experiences didn’t include gay-only congregations. There were non-gay folks present from the beginning. Yet, in these places, there was an unconditional acceptance and welcome that isn’t found everywhere. Indeed, at one point, I was a lay preacher within the United Methodist Church, and my home congregation was extremely welcoming and accepting. One day, I commented to another member, that I had always had a crush on someone, and that through them for a loop. Even they were surprised by the way a casual comment on my pat impacted them. It was the first time any gay person had shared a personal feeling like that. On the one hand, my acceptance was moderated by the degree to which I fit in. I don’t relay that to be critical. That UMC is today one of the most welcoming places for LGBT persons. For me however, it was a lesson in how acceptance happens.

Today, I identify as a Post-Christian Buddhist. Post-Christian, meaning that I don’t buy into the resurrection, but Jesus remains important to me. I don’t really buy into the Holy Trinity either, although I’m not ready to abandon God entirely. I identify as Buddhist as I find it offers a spiritual practice far more consistent with what I think Faith and Religion are all about.

I think there will remain a need for groups like MCC as long as individuals feel a need to find community outside of the status quo. In these efforts, Faith springs forth and grows anew, and that is a good thing.

Metropolitan Community Churches: Do Gays Need A Church Of Their Own Anymore?.

Sex problem in the Garden of Eden?

Evan Hurst, at Truth Wins Out saw this, and wonders if it is satire, or a serious opinion. The snip comes from the Findlay Ohio paper. It may be that the opinion’s author is a regular “contributer” to the paper’s opinion section, and he is a witty guym but not being from there, who knows for sure.

Something in the “Just Ask” column (Page A3, May 29) disturbed me. According to the column, “the Ohio buckeye, Aesculus glabra, bears flowers with both male and female organs on the same tree. It is a monoecious species.”

I couldn’t believe this, so I did some research and, sure enough, a science website (forestry.about.com) states that “the Ohio buckeye is polygamo-monoecious, bearing both bisexual and male flowers.”

The buckeye is our state tree and most of us gladly wear the nickname, “buckeyes.” But it is shameful and unacceptable that a bisexual tree should represent us! We are flaunting the Holy Bible!

I urge everyone to contact their state representative and demand legislation removing the buckeye as our state tree and condemning the use of the term “buckeye” as a nickname for residents of Ohio.

Does anyone know if carnations are bisexual?

Jim Flechtner Findlay

 

This caught my eye as a proud OSU graduate (in horticulture no less), and had never once thought ill of the grand Buckeye tree. No matter how this was meant (and I’m going with the assumption that Jim is a very witty social commentarian) it illustrates so clearly the problem of trying to take “The Holy Bible” and pretend what it says easily applies to everything: a tactic used so often by far-right fundamentalists. The world of plants, insects, and even animals, is full of examples where there are not two discreet and separate “beings” where one is of one sex, and the other… well you get what I mean.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. ” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning —the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning —the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning —the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

Even God didn’t create separate “beings” until all the way to humans! And so, a tree couldn’t be bisexual, nor could the state be flaunting the Bible. Right?

The Bible is not a great source of teachings about Sexuality, and yet that last little verse gets used like an atomic bomb- as if it obliterates any possibility that sexuality, and human sexuality may be a bit more variable. For me the fun part is seeing the rest of the fallacy of the Genesis story. Plants were placed on the Earth before there was a sun in the sky, and the plants need the sun to grow. They produce energy via photosynthesis, and so the sun would have had to be present before the plants or the plants could not have survived! Sure, it was just a day in between, so maybe the plants would have been OK without sunlight for one day, right? I mean, I brought some tomatoe plants home from the garden center and left them in the trunk the other day, and they made it just fine.

I have said it before, and will say it again. We have such a small and limited knowledge of biology! We teach it to our kids in school as if, of all the Sciences, we have all of the answers, and it is a less “unknown” Science. Indeed, we suggest that simple fruit fly experiments tell us all we need to understand about genetics. But the reality is that we as a collective mind, have barely scrtatched the surface of understanding biology, and just as we know today, that the Sun doesn’t orbit the Earth, we will one day know that our current limited understanding of sexuality, genetics and reproduction is missing so much. And this will be the downfall of organized Religion, if they continue to hold on to this one little passage in Genesis as if it is the ultimate truth. Science won’t destroy Religion however. It will be the failings of a few close-minded idiots who can not grasp a bigger creation.

If anyone out there knows Jim, can you ask him if his opinion was meant as a serious kind of thing or not?

 

Women and Evil.

The linked post is from ThinkProgress, and they reference The Raw Story, as they discuss this quote from a Fox News guest, and pastor, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson. It may appear on the surface as if it were just another joke about yet another whack job on Fox News, but it is far more than that. This story encapsulates the whole current culture war that we are currently living in, and should stand out as a warning of where we will be if we fail to recognize the severity of the issue.

“Look at every place where a women is in control,” said Peterson. “You see nothing but confusion. There’s no good in it at all, none.”Peterson’s sermon began with comments about Sandra Fluke, doubling down on Rush Limbaugh’s slut remarks. But halfway through his speech, he kicked the hate into another gear:PETERSON: “I think that one of the greatest mistakes that America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote. We should have never turned that over to women.”“It was a big mistake…these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil, who agree with them…Men in the good old days understood the nature of the women, they were not afraid to deal with them.”“Wherever women are taking over, evil reigns.”

I have been working on a post on thomascwaters.com, dealing with the current state of the Marriage Equality battle and then I read this post. There are a few things we must accept as a starting point now. The GOP is been hijacked by the far right elements of that party, and this once-fring-now-mainstream position is all about a radical far right conservative religious position. Their goal everywhere is to push a social agenda where moderate and liberal voices have no place, and we experience a return to some mythical yet perceived real social hierarchy where men rule and the Bible is the basis for everything. This is the current day’s version of the Dark Ages being born again.

The solution isn’t really so simple, even if it appears as if it should be. Down with Religion, right?  But Religion itself isn’t really the problem, simply the weapon being employed by these folks. Sure you can try and take away their weapon, but that doesn’t stop them from fighting. You can’t, no matter how hard you try, take Religion away. No amount of trivializing it or fighting it will work. THe only solution is to push back with real and constant effort and fight poor theology with good, sane, meaningful theology. And to point out what is really going on. That the men in power want to return to a space in time when they had even more power than they do today. This is not a battle against Women alone, but a battle against modernity in total.

I was listening to an interview with Erik Larson the other day about his book, Beasts in the Garden. In it he tells the story of the American Ambassador to Germany as Hitler grew in power and devastated Germany, Europe and the Jewish population. He explained that in the early days, no one really believed that anyone could conceivably do the horrific things that the rhetoric of the times seems to imply. For me the similarity is that it can seem inconceivable that our entire social structure and sense of empowerment and freedom could be in danger. But it is and can be if we do not stop and counter such horrific ideas as Peterson espouses.

via Fox News Contributor: Allowing Women To Vote A Mistake.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by satanoid

God’s Wrath? Tornadoes Damage Midwest Towns

Saw a tweet  that llinked to the attached post, and the tweet was titled, God’s Wrath.

God and God’s wrath are commonly used as either warning or proof that [fill in the blank] whiuch is happening culturally, is opposed by God. Often these same Bible thumpers point to stories like Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of God using His wrath. Here’s the thing. This is a win/win for the Bible thumpers. They can point to anythibng and say it is proopf of whatever, because there is no real way to refute it. God doesn’t speak from the sky and say, “No, that is just the Weather.” So, fior the thumpers, it is a perfect waepon to use and fear mongering technique. If the devastation happens to them, it tells them that they aren’t fighting hard enough for God’s Will. If the devastation happens to others, it is proof that God hates whoever was devastated.

The problem is it paints a picture of a God, no sane person wants rto worship or trust. That God who can devastate anyone, no matter how hard you are trying to be a good Christian, is a pretty mean and unjust God. Additionally, it is a picture of God that can not be reconciled with  New Testament theology. Either Christians believe in the God of the New Testament, or they really aren’t Christians at all. That N.T. God sacrificed His Son so that all human beings have eternal life. The N.T. God is one who places self-sacrifice and forgiveness above all else. The N.T. God is one of unconditional love, and a God that does unbelievable things like virgin births and resurrections. It is a God that displays power through surrender and compassion.

This is why Christianity is fighting so hard to survive, and thinking people are leaving Religion inb droves, because the God these folks claim to believe in is not the same God of their Faith heritage.

The storm killed five people and injured more than two dozen in and around Woodward, a town about 140 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, but it was the only tornado that caused fatalities. Many of the touchdowns raked harmlessly across isolated stretches of rural Kansas, and though communities in Iowa and Kansas were hit, residents and officials credited days of urgent warnings from forecasters for saving lives.

via Tornadoes Damage Midwest Towns, Residents Struggling To Recover.

This is Real Methodism in Action!

Methodist Ministers Pledge to Perform Gay Marriage Despite Ban

On Monday a group of United Methodists from New York and Connecticut will release a list of pastors who plan to perform weddings for homosexual couples despite the denomination’s ban on gay marriage.The We do! Methodists Living Marriage Equality project consists of 161 clergy members, 703 lay people and six congregations representing 67 United Methodist congregations who will risk their standing and jobs with the church by announcing their support for equal rights for the LGBT community.

If you study John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, you will find that he was a man who bucked the system and acted out- or I should say- took action when he felt the organizational structures within the Church stopped people from participating in the Body of Christ. I have been a Methodist my entire life, although I have not been active in that denomination for the last 15 years. I have always believed however, that women and men if courage, within the ministry or the laity would eventually act similarly to John Wesley, and do what they knew to be right rather than merely following what they were ordered to do

This effort is not the first act of courage however. I have already written about how Methodist ministers in the Washington DC area spoke out and committed to perform same-sex marriages. And historically, my friend, Jimmy Creech, lost his church because he did what he knew to be right and married two memberas of his congregation some 16 or so years ago. I have just been surprised that it has taken this long for more M<ethodists to step up and act like true Methodists.

via Methodist Ministers Pledge to Perform Gay Marriage Despite Ban | Long Island Press.

13th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR)

I saw the linked and quoted post below in the newsletter for More Light Presbyterians, and the full story is found on their website.

Sunday, November 20th is the 13th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). TDOR is a day to recognize the vulnerability of transgender persons to injustice, violence and death; to remember the transgender persons we have lost this year; and to work for change.

The nine year old son of a good friend of mine once described transgender people as those “whose spirits do not match the bodies they were given.” My friend’s eloquent son recognized the calling transgender people feel to fully express with their bodies the spirit God gave them.  And yet, every day, in every corner of the globe, and in your own community, transgender people face discrimination in attempting to find a place to live, in attempting to access medical care, and even in attempting to find a restroom in a public place. In these moments of discrimination, the person behind the counter, or the person monitoring the lobby of a public place, or the person working at TSA, or police or medical staff did not agree the spirit that person was trying to express counted as worthy to be granted access to basic human rights as housing, medical treatment, or a bathroom.

 

Read the rest of the article written by Alex McNeil: via More Light Presbyterians – Our Spirits, Ourselves.

When Love Wins Out

A Lutheran pastor resigned from Trinity Lutheran Church in Alabama last week after experiencing a “change of heart” towards equality for gay and lesbian people. Pastor Bert Oelschig had initially opposed Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)’s 2009 decision to “allow openly gay pastors” in “committed, lifelong and monogamous relationships” to serve in the clergy and even threatened to “break away with the national denomination.” But in June, Oelschig experienced a revelation and attempted to explain his newfound support for LGBT equality to his church.

This is a really wonderful story in most regards, and the type we need to see more like it. I especially love the theological basis for how he explains this. God (Love) trumps chromosomes (i.e. gender).

“Before there was any creation, God was love,” Oelschig said, citing imagery from his original sermon. “After creation, gender came along, but God’s essence was still love. It’s my belief that the love between people is not a function of gender. (Homosexual couples) can express love, faith and affection just as we all can … it’s blessed by God.

“Love trumps chromosomes.”