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What the Bible Really Says

13 Jul

Here is a Letter to the Editor that the Hawkeye published and that I wrote. Thanks Hawkeye for printing it.

I am writing in reply to Margarette Jackson’s letter of June 27. Margarette stated in her letter being gay is a sin because the Bible says it is. She’s right. Leviticus 18:22 clearly states a man is not to lie with another man. By the way, the Bible never once mentions same-sex relations between women.

I admire Margarette for seeking truth from scripture. What I don’t admire is that she chooses certain biblical texts, ignores the rest and acts as if she is “just following the Bible.”

If you want to follow the Bible, you had better be prepared to follow all of it. For example, are you ready to “follow” when the Bible condones the rape of women (Numbers 31:7-18) or the practice of slavery (2 Kings 23:20-25) or human sacrifice (Leviticus 25:44-46)?

Biblical mandates concerning rape, slavery and human sacrifice are much more explicit and appear many more times than any mention of a man sleeping with a man. And yet, in the argument against homosexuality, these commandments are never even mentioned while Leviticus 18:22 is quoted repeatedly.
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There are more than 600 commandments in the Bible that could inform our behavior, including murder (sometimes condoned, sometimes forbidden); theft (generally forbidden, but not always); fashion (lots and lots of fashion advice); working Saturdays (according to Exodus, yard work on Saturdays is pretty much an abomination).

My question for Margarette is: If we are going to claim the Bible as our moral compass, don’t we have to claim all of it? And if we don’t have to claim all of it, what is our criteria for the selection of some texts over others?

What makes Leviticus 18:22 more important than 1 Timothy 2:12 – women should not express themselves but be silent. I am certain that writing a letter to the editor is a clear violation of 1 Timothy 2:12).

I also wonder if Margarette knows Jesus once healed an openly gay man. In Matthew 8:5-13, a Roman centurion comes to Jesus and asks him to heal his servant. The writer of the Gospel uses the Greek word “pais” to describe the servant. Pais is a particular kind of servant. A pais was a male lover.

What does Jesus do? Condemn the centurion for being gay? Tell him he is going to hell? No, he heals the servant and then announces to the crowd, “I have not found faith this great anywhere in Israel.” (information for the last two paragraphs from a great book The Children are Free by Jeff Miner and John Connoley)

Margrette’s God could be summed up in the words, “God is judge.” The God I worship is summed up in the words, “God is love.” God is judge means you and I must oppose evil, and if we don’t identify it and fight it, we will be condemned ( inspired by an excellent workbook called “My Mind Was Changed” published by Auburn, Fenton, and Goodwin Simon)

God is love means we must welcome as Jesus did, promote inclusion and show compassion. God is judge is supported by all the “thou shalt not” commandments in the Bible. God is love is supported by all the “love your neighbor” commandments.

In Margarette’s letter, she said she “weeps” for her gay relative. I weep for Margarette and everyone else who goes through life haunted by a loathsome, destructive God happy to create evil human beings so they can be saved only by means of the torturous cross.

Just as I hope our gay sisters and brothers are someday freed from the hell the church has put them in, I hope Margarette can be freed from her own her oppressive theology.

THE REV. JANE WILLAN

Burlington

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11 Comments

Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Blogging With Jane

 

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11 responses to “What the Bible Really Says

  1. Rich Pleva

    July 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks, Jane. The church’s attitude toward and use of scripture is one of – if not the central — issue of significance for the future church. We are people formed by story — a Biblical story — but there’s always been debate and picking and choosing about what parts of the story are most important — even authoritative. I’d suggest that this is argument for strong community — that in community we best hear the Spirit’s leading about how to hear our scriptures and what the story demands of us.

    I’d also suggest that the story of Peter’s rooftop vision in the early chapters of Acts is powerfully important, for in we get insight into the process by which Peter challenged — let’s face it, turned upside down — the universally accepted (and Biblically based!) notion that Gentiles couldn’t possibly be accepted in the community of faith. I think progressives need to make more use of this powerful precedent!

     
    • Jane

      July 14, 2012 at 11:38 am

      Rich, thanks for your thoughtful reply. Peter was amazing, wasnt he? not that bright seemingly, betrays Jesus, then the radical inclusion of gentiles. a tribute to how people can transform.

       
  2. bill daws

    July 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    I am so proud of you ,Jane, and thankful you are our pastor.
    Bill

     
    • Jane

      July 14, 2012 at 11:35 am

      I couldnt be happier than I am at Zion.

       
  3. Todd Snyder

    July 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Thank you, Jane . . .
    . . . for being Articulate, Engaging, Empathetic (to everyone), Undaunted. Loving, Clear, Logical, Didactic, Insightful, (somewhat) Humorous, Strong, Creative, . . . (I could go on.)
    You are making this world better!
    Blessings. Todd.

     
    • Jane

      July 14, 2012 at 11:36 am

      thanks Todd!

       
  4. Rich Chartrand

    July 13, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Bless you sister. Maybe someone’s mind will be opened.
    Rich

     
  5. Norma Putnam

    July 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Marilyn shared your letter with me. It is awesome…no one could have said it better! So blessed to have had you in our midst…even if it was just for a short time.

     
  6. Gail Lawlor

    July 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Excellent letter, Jane.

     

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