Sure it's possible to make the awkward argument that the Bible was just misread or misused when it "seemed" to call for racism, genocide, slavery, or sexism ... but that it's dead on when it condemns homosexuality. There's a word for that type of argument. It's called "bullshit."
by David R. Weiss
God continued on page 20
(Readers, recall from last month that I'm across the table from Mark, my college roommate of 28 years ago, sharing pizza and beer, while I answer his question, "When did you become such an advocate?" The conversation is imaginary because I missed the chance to have it last fall when I saw him at our college homecoming. But some of our best reality begins with imagination, so I'm hopeful that this is the first step toward a real conversation ...)
o, Mark, these are the three "seeds" to my advocacy. First, I've had this strong sense of empathy ever since adolescence, and rather than restraining it, I've chosen to "hang glide" with it as far as it will carry me. Second, my faith shifted from being intellectual to political--it became a conviction about how to act in the world. And third, I became friends with some gay and lesbian persons of faith, allowing me to empathize with their struggles, their deep faith, and their basic humanity. Bottom line: I saw and heard God's presence in their lives. Listen, Mark, so much of the church is so busy trying to solve the "gay" question by rummaging around in the
Bible. Claiming to find verses that clearly condemn homosexuality. Or offering interpretations that can "defuse" those same texts. Or proposing other verses that show a different angle on the whole matter. But this is what happened inside me: I became friends--friends--with Dick and Don and Ruth and Kathi, and I didn't measure their humanity or their morality by some set of bible verses. I measured it--and found it abundantly full--the same way I encounter the rest of the world: by my experience. This doesn't mean that the Bible doesn't shape my worldview at all. But it does mean that my lived experience counts for something. And, actually, it counts for a lot. Look, neither of us measures people of other races, nationalities, or genders according to "sound-byte" biblical texts. There are biblical passages that some people use to do this. You and I don't, not because we tossed the Bible on the trash heap, but because we accepted our lived encounters with persons of other races, nationalities, and genders as sufficient proof that they, too, are persons fully created in and living out the image of God.
Sure it's possible to make the awkward argument that the Bible was just misread or misused when it "seemed" to call for racism, genocide, slavery, or sexism ... but that it's dead on when it condemns homosexuality. There's a word for that type of argument. It's called "bullshit." And it's used to preserve the prejudices folks aren't yet ready to let go of. It's not that hard to buy bullshit when it's about people at a safe distance. But through your work in global missions you've gotten to know people of different cultures so well you wouldn't buy racism no matter how well it was argued. And you were blessed with a wife who was so gifted at church leadership that you wouldn't accept sexism no matter which biblical texts got pulled out. Julie made that impossible. And I'm willing to bet that if one of your sons came out, you'd discover that the truth you know so well about the goodness of your own kid is--and ought to be--more trustworthy than a handful of texts penned several thousand years ago, even if those texts have been propped up by
www.qviewnorthwest.com | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition | February 2009 |