The good news is – more people are reading my blog. The challenging news is – more people are reading my blog 🙂
A new friend has found our little corner of the blogospehre and lifted up some concerns and questions. Mo seems genuinely perplexed about a couple of topics so I thought I would light a few candles in the darkness of confusion.
Here is one of Mo’s recent comments/question:
“Regardless of who was mommy and who was daddy, what I lived was balance that provided all we need in many different aspects. And that can and does happen regardless of the gender make-up of a relationship.”
The bizarre thing is you start off by saying how you had a mother and a father and they were both loving/involved in your life. Yet the rest of your article is an attempt to deny the importance of these gender roles, even to the point of whether such distinctions do or should exist.
“Why must there be a submission of one to another? ”
The short answer is because the Bible commands it. There are reasons for it, but I’m not going to waste time and effort writing an involved answer when I know it will simply be ignored. I will happily look up the verses if you are going to thoughtfully consider them. But something tells me you have no interest in doing that. Your bio says you were a pastor at some point, so I should not even have to be telling you any of this.
Again, why do you insist on calling yourself a follower of Christ/Christian when you not only disregard but proudly and openly deny His teachings? It truly is mind boggling.”
My answers to Mo’s questions have outgrown a mere comment and turned into a full blown post. I do hope you will forgive me for trying to cover so much ground in this one reply. I invite y’all to offer loving responses to Mo as well.
I appreciate your continued questions and hope that you are truly seeking understanding. I am honored that you have chosen this blog to share your confusion – it takes such courage to expose yourself in this way. I hope my following thoughts will be as candles for illumination on your journey.
Candle one: Becoming a good man or woman (or just good humans).
First of all, you are beginning from a premise that there is only one correct way to be a boy or girl, man or woman in the world. While that may have been the case in centuries previous to this one the reality is that there are a myriad of ways to be a man or woman in the world today. And while I am one who was raised by mixed gender parents I do not believe it is from our gender that our parenting gifts arise.
A woman can teach a little boy how to grow up to be a strong, intelligent leader AND kind & respectful toward others. A man can teach a little girl how to be a self-assured, bold hard worker AND how to bake a damn fine cake. A woman can teach her son how to strive for a life beyond the limitations society would impose and a man can teach his daughter how to be gentle and confident in the face of hatred and bigotry. These lessons are not bound by gender but spring from the content of the character of each individual. The roles we play in our family and in the world are not defined or constrained by our genitalia.
In our own household of two female parents we each embody a wide array of traits that have been traditionally sorted according to gender, traits that are an inherent fibers of our being and have nothing to do with gender. We offer our children and each other gifts of love, strength, compassion, discipline, tenderness, service and joy. If we were to use the overly simplistic rending of men and women I can say without a doubt that my partner, a woman I assure you, is from Mars and I am from Venus 🙂
I invite you to look around the world we share and consider the many ways women and men are role models for what it means to be good humans.
Candle two: Biblical understanding (or Christ is the Word)
I sense that you are one who reads the Bible in a literal/factual way but maybe inconsistently so. Please know that the language you are using points me toward a form of idolatry, the very type of blind, un-compassionate, single-minded reading of holy texts that Jesus spoke against (which ultimately contributed to his death). I call myself a Christian because Christ is my center but, as I often remind folks, my boundaries are permeable.
I believe that Jesus is the Word. I do not regard as infallible or inerrant the collection of books written by men as they struggled to understand and articulate their relationship with That Which Cannot Be Understood. I believe the Bible is a holy rendering of faithfully inspired struggle to connect with God but I do not, nor do many Christians, believe it is the Word breathed directly from God and I do not worship it as such.
As a bit of an aside, what is interesting (but not really baffling) to me is how much time people spend obsessing over some odd drive to control other people’s sexuality and so little time worrying about other parts of the bible they claim to hold so dear. For example – how many folks are out there calling for an end to banking as we know it today? I mean some folks are all keen on Levitical laws regarding sexual codes but seem to ignore this one (just to name one of many ignored “laws”)
35 ‘ If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.36 ‘Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you.
37 ‘You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit.
And one can not say that it is merely an OT notion that Christ came to set aside. If we do that with this pericope then every last one is up for grabs. Secondly, money/wealth/greed were confronted directly by Jesus where homosexuality was most certainly not. In the canon as we now have it there is not one word, not a single “red letter” attributed to Jesus that speaks of homosexuality. But his words (as we have them all these years later) about how we relate to our possessions vs. how we relate to one another and God are plentiful. As I recall (and read), beyond Jesus’ teachings there are a couple of words offered by Paul et al. about Christian community and commonly held (not privately owned) wealth. I do wish there were more far more Christians questioning the culture of Mammon worship thumping and oozing in our society.
Perhaps this quote from Walter Wink can more succinctly say what I am trying to say
“The fact is that there is, behind the legal tenor of Scripture, an even deeper tenor, articulated by Israel out of the experience of the Exodus and brought to sublime embodiment in Jesus’ identification with harlots, tax collectors, the diseased and maimed and outcast and poor. It is that God sides with the powerless, God liberates the oppressed, God suffers with the suffering and groans toward the reconciliation of all things. In the light of that supernal compassion, whatever our position on gays, the gospel’s imperative to love, care for, and be identified with their sufferings is unmistakably clear.”
I cling to the hope and faith found in that empty tomb. A faith that believes love, grace and forgiveness will triumph over the depth of our hatred and evil that can put a man to death for healing on the sabbath, overturning the false idols of money and confronting the religious elite for their hard hearted, death-grip on laws written by men who we know could only see darkly though as through a clouded glass.
So to answer your question, the one that matters most to me – I claim to be a Christian because I believe in a meta narrative of Love, Grace, Forgiveness and Peace. I even hang onto those words we both know so well… “whosoever believeth in him”. And I am a whosoever who believes in an Incarnation of God that reveals to us God’s heart. I believe we responded and continue to repsond to that Incarnation with seething, blind devotion to power that takes God’s name in vain. And I believe that the empty tomb is evidence that God is loving and not vengeful. That is the sort of Christian this lesbian is.
Mo, I understand if this is a little scary since it can tilt one’s worldview on a new axis but know that you will not be alone in your searching and discernment.
Peace be with you,