There are more of us than you think.
Dianna E. Anderson: “On Why the Bible is Not Clear“
On many controversial issues, especially those concerning women, the Bible is not “clear” and it is disingenuous, unfair, and hurtful to claim so without providing explained support.
… Claiming “the Bible is clear” on something is a way to malign dissent and to shut down debate. The person who makes the claim “The Bible is clear” is essentially telling other members of the discussion that their personal experiences don’t matter, that, in this instance, personal testimony doesn’t matter. And that’s wrong.
… This is never clearer than in the purity movement. … I heard over and over and over and over “The Bible is clear” that we shouldn’t have sex before marriage. It didn’t occur to me until last year (after 24 years of being told “the Bible is clear” and watching friends fail to live up to this standard and judging them when they did) to actually look at what the Bible has to say. And I found it sorely lacking. Premarital sex as it happens today – heck, dating, as it happens today – is absent in the world of the Bible.
Hugh Hollowell: “Open and Affirming Because of the Bible“
Jesus tells us to love our neighbor and to do to others what we want done to us. Is cheating on my partner wrong? Yes, because it is not how I would wish to be treated, and it is not loving toward my partner. It has nothing to do with my or my potential bedmate’s genitals.
Is having sex with a child wrong? Yes, because the child cannot consent, and thus it is an occasion of of power and coercion, neither of which is loving or how we would wish to be treated. Are two people (of any gender or orientation) having mutually consenting sex as an expression of their love and commitment wrong? It is loving and how I want my sexual relationships to work, so no, it is not.
I know this will not satisfy those who want to pick the Bible apart for rules and regulations, but that’s nothing new – Jesus talked about those who strained gnats and swallowed camels, who focused on letters instead of spirit and intent.
In short, I feel, as a result of Biblical principle and conscience, that to be less than fully inclusive is to participate in less than the fullness of the Gospel. In my reading of scripture, to actively oppose the full inclusion of LGBT Christians is an act that is less than Christian.
Brian McLaren: “Abortion and the Bible“
This issue became a political wedge issue first. … Nearly all the energy was focused on using the issue to solidify voting blocks — not on exploring the issue honestly and reasonably in light of Scripture and tradition. (I’m sure there are some books out there that sought to do this, but they didn’t get center stage.)
Underneath the political surface, I think abortion became a battleground (for some people, not all) in the deeper social struggle over patriarchy. As patriarchy gave way to more democratic, egalitarian social relationships in home, church, and society at large, some advocates of feminism had much to gain by making the issue a battle over the rights of individual women to make decisions about their own bodies, struggling against the rights of powerful men to make decisions about women’s bodies. Traditional Christian religious bodies (speaking of bodies), always led exclusively by men until very recently, tended to respond to this struggle as an attack on their own right to exist as they always had — with men in control. The issue couldn’t be discussed without calling into question the whole authority structure of their communities, and thus nobody could pretend to be a disinterested, objective participant.
And there’s the larger historical framework as well … that conservative/fundamentalist Christians (especially in the South) had “lost” a series of battles (evolution, segregation) and wanted to stop the erosion of their power. …
[Al] Mohler and [John] MacArthur place themselves in a long line of Christians who have defended six-day creationism. Their language makes one think the church has always supported a literal creation account. To reconcile Scripture and evolution, then, would be the church’s first — and dramatic — capitulation to “secular” thinking.
But throughout history, not everyone affirmed six-day creationism. Not all church fathers furthered a dichotomy between Scripture and science. The origins issue was not the controversy some have made it today; in fact, it was often a non-issue. …
When Mohler and MacArthur defend a literal reading of Genesis, they fail to realize they’re defending a relatively new interpretation, which differs from early church fathers’ interpretations.