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Call me ‘apostate’

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.

BONUS: DID YOU NOTICE APOSTATE LITERALLY MEANS “RUNAWAY SLAVE” IN THE GREEK. I KIND OF LIKE THAT.

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

 

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Guest Post: Lutheran Church of Australia: Church or Cult?

Although we subscribe to Neil Hart’s blog, sometimes there’s just too much happening and posts slip under the radar.  Neil’s post (below) is worth the read.  It gives a couple of examples of Pr Semmler imposing his style of hermeneutics and his interpretation of Scripture on delegates to a General Convention (also referred to as Synod) and the general LCA.

September 25, 2012

The issue of women’s ordination has been bubbling away in the Lutheran Church of Australia for a few decades now. After much theological soul searching the Church’s theological think tanks finally concluded that there is no theological impediment to the ordination of women. Despite this a vote for the ordination of women at the 2006 General Synod, although obtaining a narrow margin in favour of the proposal, did not reach the required 2/3 majority to effect the necessary change.

I was on the floor of Synod on that sad and confusing day. It seemed that we were in a bit of a bind. I remember one pastor giving voice to the problem. He asked the President what should happen now that slightly more than half of the pastors of the church had, by their vote, expressed their disagreement with the public teaching of the Church. I remember that his response went something along the lines of…

The pastors have all sworn to uphold the public teachings of the church! 

PHEW! That was a close one. Division in the church narrowly averted.

Problem is… some pesky pastors and lay people were less than convinced by the President’s weighty argument and have continued to campaign against what they see as an anachronistic and unjust stand against women. They met recently to encourage one another and to remind the Church that they and the issue have not gone away.

So the President saw fit to send out a letter of reprimand.

Allow me, reader, to draw your attention to one telling sentence in that recent letter.

The disappointing issue of those wishing to bypass studies of scripture in discussions and who use human understanding, logic, social justice, equal rights and such cultural contexts to  further a cause is to be lamented and discouraged

OK.  3 things

1. I’m not sure if that is actually a sentence. (But who am I to criticise anyone else’s grammar. Pots and kettles.)

2.  I have been involved in the debate on Women’s Ordination in the LCA for nearly 30 years. In that time I have heard no-one in the LCA ever mention, advocated or even hint at bypassing scripture.  The place of scripture is not and has never been in question on the matter of women’s ordination just as it has not been in question in our debate on the church’s statement on homosexuality.

3. What the President is doing here is outlining HIS understanding of how one is to interpret scripture. According to the President,  human understanding, logic, social justice, equal rights and cultural contexts are to be absent from our study of scripture. More than that, according to the President, the use of these things is to be “lamented and discouraged”.

Correct me if I am wrong but… hasn’t our President just outlined the recipe for the birth of a cult?

On Thursday night I listened to an interview on Radio National with a Western Australian woman who spent a couple of decades as a blindly faithful follower of the Bhagwan Rajneesh. Her uncritical devotion to the master, the absence of human understanding and logic, her complete withdrawal from the cultural context that had previously helped to ground her, her willingness to abandoned her common sense of justice and rights and wrongs left her vulnerable to the will of a narcissistic madman until she was finally ready to kill for him.

Ok Mr President, my logic and human understanding are now disengaged. My sense of justice and my concern for the rights of others has been suppressed. My attempts to apply scripture to our present cultural context have been abandoned…

Is this really the attitude you want us to adopt in interpreting the Bible?

Is this really what you want?

Maybe it IS what the President wants. It is certainly ONE way to maintain unity in the Church.

 

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Dear Dr. Laura

Dr Laura Schlessinger

Dear Dr. Laura

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s law. I have learned a great deal from you, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to best follow them.

* When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?

* I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

* I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

* Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians. Can you clarify?

* I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

* A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

* Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

via The Dr. Laura Bits.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2011 in history, theology

 

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