Presbyterians to consider Ordaining Gays

“An engineering professor is treating her husband, a loan officer, to dinner for finally giving in to her pleas to shave off the scraggly beard he grew on vacation.  His favorite restaurant is a casual place where they both feel comfortable in slacks and cotton/polyester-blend golf shirts.  But, as always, she wears the gold and pearl pendant he gave her the day her divorce decree was final.  They’re laughing over their menus because they know he always ends up diving into a giant plate of ribs but she won’t be talked into anything more fattening than shrimp.
      Quiz:  How many biblical prohibitions are they violating?  Well, wives are supposed to be ‘submissive’ to their husbands (I Peter 3:1).  And all women are forbidden to teach men (I Timothy 2:12), wear gold or pearls (I Timothy 2:9) or dress in clothing that ‘pertains to a man’ (Deuteronomy 22:5).  Shellfish and pork are definitely out (Leviticus 11:7, 10) as are usury (Deuteronomy 23:19), shaving (Leviticus 19:27) and clothes of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19).  And since the Bible rarely recognizes divorce, they’re committing adultery, which carries the rather harsh penalty of death by stoning (Deuteronomy 22:22).
      So why are they having such a good time?  Probably because they wouldn’t think of worrying about rules that seem absurd, anachronistic or – at best – unrealistic.  Yet this same modern-day couple could easily be among the millions of Americans who never hesitate to lean on the Bible to justify their own anti-gay attitudes.”  ~Deb Price, And Say Hi To Joyce 

The Presbyterian General Conference voted in their national body to overturn their ban on ordaining Gays and Lesbians.  This is a major step forward for this denomination.  A few decades ago now, it had passed a similar resolution but in their polity in order for it to become official, had to be ratified by a majority of the Presbyteries within their denomination.  It failed to reach that majority vote.  This next year will show whether the attitudes of Presbyterians have really changed over these many years or  will this again be a vote aborted. 

The subject of ordaining sexual minorities has been a divisive issue in main line denominations these past few years.  We are witnessing a widening schism in the Episcopal church over the ordaining of a gay priest to the position of Bishop.  Presbyterians also struggle with this potential of schism.  Yet, the scenario quoted above is seen as perfectly aligned with teachings of the church even when it is shown to ignore biblical teachings.   Jesus never mentioned homosexuality.  Yet he mentioned some of the concerns mentioned in our scenario above, especially divorce.  

It seems to me that if one is to be true to the teachings of Jesus, that one ought to seek the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law.  What is at the heart of a devout religious life?  To live justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with one’s god.  This is a pretty broad prescription from Micah with room for interpretation.  It does leave open the ability to adjust our living based on our new understandings that Science and Reason offer us.   As well as evolving cultural understandings of what is sinful behavior. 

May Presbyterians weigh seriously the call placed before them and the path they will go down as a result of their vote. Will they seek to follow the spirit or the letter of their doctrines?  May they choose the spirit.  Blessings,

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Published in: on July 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm  Comments Off on Presbyterians to consider Ordaining Gays  
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