Misfit Disciples in an Orthodox World

Misfit Disciples in an Orthodox World
"You had better be a round peg in a square hole than a round peg in a round hole. The latter is in for life, while the first is only an indeterminate sentence." – Elbert Hubbard

The Bible and Sexual Oppression?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Religion Dispatches published an article this morning entitled Sex and Civilization: The Body as Battleground, written by Jay Michaelson. In this article, Michaelson defends sexual liberation in effort to promote homosexuality and to debunk homophobia. 

I do not consider myself homophobic (I am sure after this, some will deem me as such, regardless), but I am really getting weary of people like Michaelson either making sport of the Bible and its prohibitions, reducing the text to nothing more than the senseless ramblings of a patriarchal and repressive regime, or trying to rewrite scripture altogether, making it more homo-friendly than it really is. Both these arguments do harm, in my opinion. 

For one, the Bible is our sacred text, for better or worse. Obviously, most Christians believe that God has spoken through this medium. The world needs to see us wrestling positively with these texts in order to find God's voice in the midst of our culture. If there is any tension, it is here. And, I don't see this as a negative thing at all. 

Secondly, denying what the Bible says explicitly refuses to acknowledge where we come from and the changes that have taken place over time. It devalues our faith's ability to adapt and change, remaining relevant in any context. Trying to rewrite it seems like wasted effort to me.

What is wrong with simply acknowledging that the Bible clearly prohibits homosexuality, but its regulations are cultural and not meant to have a universal application? What's wrong with saying that given today's culture and context, these scriptures are not relevant, without having to trash the entire text and make it all about sexual repression, etc?

Lastly, I find this declaration by Michaelson to be incredible: 

Liberated sexuality is the first step toward liberated consciousness, for if we remove the yoke of oppression from our genitals, literally and figuratively, and we lighten it from our backs.

What? Where in the heck does he get this from? Didn't we try this in the sixties? 

Will Abortion become THE ISSUE again?

Tim Rutten of the LA Times asked this question, while surveying the current political landscape. Given the recent upset victory of Timothy Dolan as President of the US Conference of Bishops and his obvious "pro-life above everything else stand", it appears that this has a great potential to come back as a significant issue in upcoming elections. 

As I've said many times, I am pro-life. However, I think one must be consistent with such a stance and protect life period. Meaning, that we must be as concerned about the countless children, in the US and abroad, who go asleep hungry, people lacking access to basic health care, etc, as we are those who have never taken a single breath. Justice must prevail upon all fronts. 

If this becomes a major issue again, I hope that it will not be the litmus test for all things conservative that it used to be. Other, very important social issues have long  been overlooked for this single topic, and many idiots (for lack of a better word) were sent to Washington simply because of their stand on this issue.  Let's hope we don't repeat the same mistakes!

Stories the Religious Left Must Tell Itself

Monday, November 1, 2010

This is a review of the book: Changing the Script: An Authentically Faithful and Authentically Progressive Political Theology for the 21st Century, written by Daniel Schultz. In it, Schultz calls for a greater understanding of the areas where we agree, and making our voices more audible where progressive sentiments are often relegated to less visible regions of society. The sentiment is that we can, if we are willing to try, overcome the negative sentiments of the religious right and its corresponding fundamentalism, thereby creating a world where justice and compassion takes center stage. 

I am definitely going to give this book a read. Schultz does an excellent job of reviewing it. 

In God-fearing USA, where is the decency?

I have read this several times over the past several days. What I can NOT get over is this:
Apparently, one of those rules states: "Thou shalt not consort with the other side, even for a good cause." An example of this played out this year after a top official of the Assemblies of God, George Wood, signed a Covenant for Civility that was making the rounds in Christian circles. Upon discovering that he was keeping company on the rolls with persons who "reject the moral teachings of Scripture" (liberals, evidently) Wood asked that his name be removed.
Having been a Pentecostal in a past life, I find it utterly amazing that a man like Woods could not support the core fundamentals of the document, regardless of whose name was attached to it. He obviously saw no contradiction with it and his scriptural ideals and only reacted when he found out someone he disagreed with had signed the document as well. This is hypocrisy at its worse!

Islamophobia now competes with fearophobia

Fear is a natural human quality, with many positive uses. To negate it altogether is as bad as applying it irrationally.

How we got here? NY-Times Op/Ed

Unfortunately, I think he's right.

Mugged by the Moralizers

This is an interesting take. One that I am sure Ron Paul would not agree with! 

Mugged by the Moralizers

Published: October 31, 2010
More and more voters are convinced that what we need is not spending but more punishment. The irony is that they will end up punishing themselves.