Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mail Bag

We get mail. Lots of mail. Some of it with stamps on it still but MOST of it the in-your-inbox-kind -- the kind that seem to keep piling up faster than you can figure out what to say to answer them all!

And then ... sometimes ... along comes one that's just really EASY to answer -- like this one:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2008 12:57 AM
To: All Saints Church
Subject: Question


I had a question and was wanting to see if you can help me answer it. However I have a feeling you guys will ignore the question and not reply, but I urge you guys to think the question over.

Well, as I was passing by your the church i noticed several "no on 8" signs posted outside the church. I wondered why a christian church would vote no. Have you guys not read the following:

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." - Matthew 19:4-6

"If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination." - Leviticus 20:13

Please answer the question, thanks.
Happy to.
From: Susan Russell
Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2008 2:19 PM
Subject: Answer

Dear XXXX,

Your question regarding All Saints' position opposing Proposition 8 has been referred to me and I'd like to thank you for taking time to write, and to offer this brief response.

Interestingly your questions are not unlike the ones Jesus answered in Matthew 22:34-40 which -- even more interestingly -- was the text appointed for our sermon today at All Saints. The answer for us is that same as it was for Our Lord ... we believe that ALL the law and the prophets hang on the two great commandments: love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. And we believe that we are following both of those commandments when we marry same-sex couples here at All Saints Church ... which we have been doing since June 17th.

If you click here you can hear what our rector, Ed Bacon, had to say about why as followers of Jesus we oppose writing discrimination into the constitution.

But at the end of the day, the issue facing the voters on Election Day isn't whose interpretation of Holy Scripture is "correct." In a nation that embraces both freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion, neither of us have the right to write OUR theology into the California constitution -- and that's what Propostion 8 would do.

The California State Legislature -- our elected representatives -- have twice voted for marriage equality for all Californians, the Supreme Court has ruled it is a right protected by our constitution and the governor opposes Proposition 8. We're a nation of liberty and justice for all, not just some and All Saints Church is committed to keeping it that way. That's why we have "Vote No on 8" signs on our lawn.

Thanks again for taking time to write.

(The Reverend) Susan Russell
All Saints Church
132 North Euclid Avenue
Pasadena CA 91101


Dave said...

Susan... Always enjoy your blog and posts. And, in case you haven't heard or seen this PSA by Adventists Against Prop 8, I thought you should.

Rob said...

So what does that have to say about how we understand Matthew 19:4? Is this just descriptive, as in for example? -- and we use our own wisdom and understanding to give other examples that fit? It doesn't seem that you actually answered the letter writer's question.


Sorry, rob ... I disagree.

My "answer" was that we understand what we are doing to be in compliance with the first and second greatest commandments ("upon which hang all the law and the prophets.")

And yes, I'd say I understand Matt 19:4 as descriptive rather than proscriptive, as I believe it's the values that make up a marriage that matter more than the gender of the couple.

Brother David said...

Until modern times Matt. 19:4-6 was just wishful thinking anyway. Junior usually did not strike out on his own with the new wifey. He dragged her home to Mom & Dad, where she was often little more than an additional kitchen slave to the new mother-in-law.

Folks have such romanticized ideals of this fairy-tale of God-given marriage from the foundation of time. As in so many other aspects of dreaming of the past for today, conservatives believe in a mythical realm that never existed.

Mr. T said...

I just posted a similar question on another posting of yours concerning Matthew 19:3-6. While I disagree with your position on the two most important commandments - or more specifically - how you are applying those commandments to accept homosexuality in a church - I can say I found the answer I was looking for in this post. Thanks for your time and consideration. God bless!