Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eye on "the other side" -- NY "Mayday for Marriage" ad campaign ramps up

  • Want to know why it's so important to "Believe Out Loud?"

  • Wonder why progessive faith leaders need to step up and speak out for Marriage Equality?

  • Thinking the Defense of Discrimination crowd can't sink any lower with their attacks on our marriages?

    1. Watch this.
    2. Think again.
    3. Take Action!


Patricia Brush said...

It should be interesting for those preachers to preach on "the biblical definition of marriage" since the bible includes many forms of marriage. How do they live with their consciences?

wdg_pgh said...

Hey, not to worry! All the folks who are likely to support this should figure on having left us by May 22. After all, Harold Camping makes about as much sense as the Mayday for Marriage campaign.

Charlie Sutton said...

Patricia, there is a difference between the prescriptive definition of marriage given in Gen 2 and in Mark 10:6-9 and the descriptive accounts of marriages seen throughout the Bible, especially the Old Testament. God has told us what he wants marriage to be, but "the hardness of heart" that came with the Fall into sin warped that into lesser, and more painful, expressions of marriage.

Conservative Christians have principles of interpreting the Scriptures. Context, style, historical setting, and several other factors are taken into account. If you want to criticize the results of conservative study of the Bible, you would do well to acquaint yourself with the methodology of conservative biblical interpretation. John Stott, an Anglican evangelical, has written several short books on the Bible; you might do well to read one, simply to see that conservatives do not just pick verses at random that seem to support a point they wish to make.

Disagree if you will, but your points will be stronger if you engage conservative Christians with some knowledge, not simply of what they teach, but of why, and how they arrived at the position.

PS - Harold Camping is just plain nuts.

uffda51 said...

“ . . . conservatives do not just pick verses at random that seem to support a point they wish to make.”

Except for the zillions of times I’ve seen them do just that on this and other blogs, in newspapers and magazines, on television and radio, and on and on, around the world, 24/7.

I don’t understand what “conservative study of the Bible” might be. It seems to me that there can only be good biblical scholarship - or bad.

Can there be “conservative study” of astronomy, in which earth remains the center of the universe, and quasars, black holes and dark energy do not exist?

Charlie Sutton said...

Uffda, there is a difference between "picking verses at random" and citing verses that, because of their context, grammatical structure, etc, are germane to the discussion. I cited Mark 10 because it speaks to the concept of marriage. Indeed, it is one of the passages appointed in the BCP for weddings.

I will grant you that there are some who hold a conservative position who do not use the Bible responsibly, but many of us do have a logical rationale for how we use Scripture.

The major difference (in brief) between conservative biblical scholars and liberal/progressive scholars is how they regard the nature of Scripture. Conservative scholars take the Bible as inspired by God, in line with the Bible says about itself and how Jesus himself used and referred to the Bible. We believe that the Bible is fully reliable and authoritative, because the Holy Spirit guided and directed the authors of the Bible to say what He wanted said.

Liberal/progressive scholars, on the other hand, believe that the Bible is essentially the product of human beings having spiritual experiences, reflecting on those experiences, and seeking to put those experiences into a comprehensible form. The authority of the Bible then comes from its antiquity and from its perceived power to inspire and guide people down through the ages. In some cases, liberal/progressives will say that new experiences can produce new - and different - teachings for the Church.

These are thumbnail sketches of the two perspectives, of course. A lot more could be said - but with different starting points, you will get different understandings of what the Bible says and how it is to be applied. Bultmann, for instance, sought to find the "kernel of truth" in the husk of the biblical myth.

To me, the liberal/progressive perspective leaves us, in principle, completely at sea with no fixed guides to navigate through life. If new experiences can bring new truth, the acceptance of such "truth" becomes more a matter of subjective willingness to use it.

The conservative position, on the other hand, has an internal consistency (not that we can understand everything!) from within the Bible and a basis for making decisions that is reliable. It is more than possible for a conservative to use the Bible as a club, but such use is far from necessary.


Very helpful ... and here's where I (no surprise) disagree ...

"To me, the liberal/progressive perspective leaves us, in principle, completely at sea with no fixed guides to navigate through life."

To me, what you call the liberal/progressive perspective allows me to strive to allign my life with God's love, justice and compassion and to live out Biblical Values amongst the changes and chances of life's challenges.

Amplified in what I call my "GPS Sermon" ...

uffda51 said...

Thanks for your analysis, Charlie. I’m afraid I, too, have to disagree.

When I think of individuals “inspired by God” I think of Bach. For Bach, writing music was an expression of faith. Every composition was "in the name of Jesus" and "to the glory of God alone." There is a big difference between being inspired by God and the many conservatives (Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, etc.) claiming that God “speaks” directly to them, and that they in turn speak for God to the rest of us.

Internal consistency . . . from within the Bible? Fully reliable? When there are multiple Biblical accounts of the same event which conflict with each other? Just to cite one example, Paul, the most prolific writer (and earliest) in the New Testament, seems to never have heard of the Virgin Birth. Virtually all Americans (except for Rick Santorum) know that John McCain was a POW during the Vietnam War. Certainly his biographers did. Likewise, all conservative Christians will tell you that Jesus was born of a Virgin (but most seem unaware that this was a common attribute of many notable figures in the ancient Mediterranean world. It was certainly never mentioned in my religious education.) Yet the four Gospels do not agree on this point, and Paul was unaware of this pretty remarkable claim. This seems the opposite of internal consistency to me.

New experiences can produce new - and different - teachings for the Church. Even the Catholic Church recognized this, although it took them centuries to admit that Galileo was right. Does this mean that the Bible’s authors didn’t understand the nature of the universe – or that God doesn’t? It also seems that it is conservatives who believe that “the authority of the Bible then comes from its antiquity” since most of the same people who claim that the Bible is the “Word of God” do not feel that this claim applies to the far more recent Book of Mormon.

We can’t blame the Biblical writers for not understanding the nature of homosexuality, a word not coined until the 19th century, nor can we blame them for not understanding the place of LGBT persons on the spectrum of normal human sexuality. If we today, though, use discrimination against LGBT persons (the subject of the original post) as one of the “fixed guides to navigate through life” then it is definitely time to recalculate.


Well said. And may I just say from MY perspective it's about equal parts antiquity and patriarchy ... neither of which "work" for me in terms of authority.

I'm just sayin' ....

Charlie Sutton said...

I have some thoughts to share in response, but I am getting ready to go to Michigan to visit my brother who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, so I do not have much time before I go.

I will say that nothing that Uffda and Susan said comes as a surprise or shock; I have heard those objections (and more) before. Perhaps in the coming week I will be able to reply with more detail, but for now, I just thank you for the time you have taken to reply.

Enjoy the weekend!