Call me ‘apostate’

21 Sep

We are recently aware that some clergy and ALC students (future clergy) state that they would vote for women’s ordination if homosexuality was not an abomination.   Strange logic indeed, but of course the hope is that by blocking women’s ordination, the ordination of gay and lesbian people can also be blocked.

It is of some concern that pastors function under such reasoning.  The ethical base of such decision making is somewhat dubious. Restricting the giving of justice to one group of people because you are fearful of another group getting ahead would suggest a compromised values base and perhaps reflects a desire to manipulate one group in order to achieve aims with another group.  There is no room for continuing to support patriarchy in the name of impeding the leadership of homosexual people.  That is a debate that the LCA is yet to have, and yes, we do support the ordination of gay and lesbian peopel.  However, to delay justice to women is to deny them justice.

In response to the repeated claim that homosexuality is an abomination, it’s time that our theologically trained leadership showed a little more scholarship and wisdom.   These are people who have spent years studying Scripture.  They can do better than referring to ancient culture-bound phrases to prove their point.

Word Of A Woman reflects on this selective use of Scripture and how other texts are conveniently ignored.  Years of study at ALC should provide pastors with the theological skills to remain consistent in their use of Scripture.  Why is it not so?

I support several things the Bible calls an abomination and some it just says are wrong. GASP! Say it isn’t so!!! (I bet my friends from the beginning of the article probably also support some of these given I have seen their sideburns). That’s right lovelies, along with fully supporting my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, I also support:

  • Eating shellfish
  • Having sex with a woman (you are married to) who is on her period (if she is consenting, OBVIOUSLY)
  • The menswear look for ladies (hello, Diane Keaton)
  • Kilts for the dudes
  • Cutting your sideburns
  • Re-marrying someone you divorced (I have known several couples who have done this)
  • Marrying someone new after you get divorced
  • I am decidedly pro bacon, pepperoni, honeybaked ham, carnitas and pork chops.
  • Wearing clothing with more than one type of fiber
  • I am down with crop rotation (I come from several generations of farmers)
  • There is a bunch of stuff the Bible says you can’t touch, some are kind of gross but I am cool with you touching them (for instance I am for you touching a dead pig for the purposes of playing football)
  • Tattoos, even though I don’t have any
  • Long hair for men and short hair for women
  • Women praying with their heads uncovered
  • Women teaching men and/or boys and/or other women/girls (yes, even in church)
  • Women NOT being property of either father or husband or brother or dead husband’s brother
  • I am cool with it if you don’t want to marry your rapist
  • If your husband is getting mugged and you think you can stop things by grabbing the guys junk really hard…I promise I won’t cut off your hand
  • I won’t be mad if you don’t stone your kid for dishonoring you
  • I am even good with you working on Saturday or Sunday or even paying someone else to work by serving you lunch after church (I know I do)

Here is the thing, these two guys do not follow every instruction given in the Bible. They. Just. Don’t. They interpret. They pick and they choose. And I am sure they use all sorts of things to support their beliefs. So do I. So do I. I don’t know about you but when I read scripture, some things are crystal clear, some are blurry and some are downright opaque. The clearest thing I can find is that I am supposed to love God and love people, ALL PEOPLE. No if. No until. No unless. I just don’t think Jesus gives me another option.



Posted by on September 21, 2013 in Hermeneutics, theology, women's ordination


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 responses to “Call me ‘apostate’

  1. Sandra

    September 21, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    apostate – runaway slave – Onesimus – beloved of the imprisoned Paul

  2. word of a woman

    September 21, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Thank you for the feature! I am honored.

  3. Tapman

    September 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

    It is quite a big hurdle to jump – especially because the LCA continues to keep the hurdle up high – the Yahnke Seminars held in Mannum Congregation describe homosexuallity in an atrocious way, the highlight phrase for me was this “Homosexual love is a different commodity” For me this phrase exposes where the LCA’s heart truly lies – dehumanising the enemy….a common and evil ploy. Unfortunately for Women, this will slow down acceptance of women in the clergy…….not real sure why the link is so strong….I remember about ten years ago some one said something about ordaining women and my first impulse was one of fear “then they will have to ordain gay people!” This unspoken link was in me as a layperson.

    I have been hassling LCA members on a lutheran discussion forum about these issues, given up hope of anything sane happening – however it once again exposes the LCA’s heart – people are welcome to link to sites on the internet……except if I link to lcamyopinion, my blog or katieandmartin they are deleted and I get a warning. There is a word for that…..censoreship.

    Anyways, my heart has left the the LCA – not sure where I am going and it pains me because my frieindship circle is there and I don’t want to hurt them or the Pastor but I just can’t worship in a group that hurts and marginalises people and then ducks behind the bible and says “it is not me saying these horrible things but God”

    An interesting thing to add to the list above is Judges 11 – where a virgin sacrifice is made to our God……and the way I read it Hebrews 11 proclaims this act of faith in the list of heroes. If nothing else I am reading the bible with a different set of eyes now.

    • Katie and Martin

      September 22, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Tap, well done on reading the Bible through a different set of eyes. We wonder if every generation needs to read the Bible through a new set of eyes. Without so doing they are in danger of perpetuating injustices that their forebears have established or continued.
      While some are obviously threatened by such an idea – that God’s word isn’t so unchangeable (oops – double negative!) – perhaps God’s word is meant to be forever new and forever revealing.

      • Tapman

        September 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm

        I hope you can tell me what you think………you said “perhaps God’s word is meant”….I take it you are referring to the bible as God’s Word. I am of the opinion that the Bible is not “God’s Word”

        I think that perhaps it is a little like bread in communion – it is just bread – there is nothing magical about it. The bible is words, historical, cultural, inspirational – no more God’s Word than any other. However I do believe that inspired words ingested and lived out can be God’s word to the world.

        I think the claim of having God’s word on paper is full of holes – to the point that I would say it is the claim of cults and a good way of maintaining control.

        Our previous leader said something to the effect of “God’s Word is inerrant, it is how we receive it that is flawed” I think it safer to say it is not God’s word because the moment I claim to have God’s Word I am making a “flawed” statement and giving it a magical component which serves to quiet rational debate…..I hope my ramblings were understandable

  4. Katie and Martin

    September 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    We believe it is just plain silly to insist on going through the contortions needed to maintain that Scripture is inerrant.
    We don’t have any trouble in holding that the Bible is God’s word, but need to clarify what we mean by that. The Bible was written down by sinners, jerks, power-mongers, the self-deceived, the vain …people just like you and us. So, for us the Bible needs to be filtered using all the Scriptural tools that we have at our disposal to understand what the message is within the noise.
    So, is the Bible the Word of God? We believe that Jesus is the Word of God, and that Scriptural passages need to be filtered through Jesus. If there are contradictions with what we know about Jesus, it becomes easy to say that we need to study further to understand what is meant by certain texts.
    While some things in Scripture (to us) are just plain violent and self-serving, we leave open the possibility that the Word of God is found somewhere within. While the Holy Spirit remains a mystery, we have no doubt that she acts in hidden ways.
    We also need to remain alert against those who insist that their knowledge of the will of God is greater than ours, as there is often a hidden curriculum.
    How does that sit with you Tap?

  5. Tapman

    September 25, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Thanks for the reply – to be honest I am a fair way from making a 100% concrete statement…..but at the moment I struggle to see it as “Word of God” particularly in the literal sense. For example where the Bible says that God commanded them to commit genocide or to do any of the horrific things that are in the Bible I do not think God told them to do any of it. In that sense a literal looking at the bible is a problem – it says in plain language that God told them to do this, God led them into battle and gave them victory etc. From a historical perspective I think that is how they thought and recorded their escapades – throw lots, consult a prophet and “God told them” if they won and killed all the women and children they would record it as “God” giving them the victory. Did God tell them to do all this stuff – I don’t think so, and from a literal point of view I don’t see it as word of God – our God is not one of atrocities. However I do believe God was working in and through the cultures of the time slowly bringing us to Jesus. Looking back at the stories – many of which I don’t believe literally happened – they provide a vast metaphorical wisdom that is separate from the brutal literal events which may or may not have happened. Was there an actual person called Jonah or Job? I think not – but that doesn’t reduce the meaning or the “God’s Word” aspect at all. For instance the story of Paul and the jailers found in Acts if read literally has little value, but if you look at it metaphorically and see that Paul was born a citizen of Rome – the high price paid, we can see a rich parallel that tells us oodles about the nature of Grace. I see it as a literal vs metaphorical issue – literal always has the least meaning.

    As I am writing I am still thinking this through – I hope you can sort of see what I mean. I guess I have reached a point where if the Bible tells me to do something wrong and hurtful, I am more than willing to say the Bible is wrong and it is not God’s Word. some would object and say that it is arrogance to think that I can know what is right and wrong without the moral compass of the Bible – really? I think morality is the least important function of the Bible – so much so that I think Jesus literally says don’t get bogged down with law, just love. anyway sermon over.

    The good I see in what you wrote above is a humility that admits problems in the Bible – I have just taken one step further – God doesn’t wear the mud if it isn’t his word.



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