Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

From the blog of Biblical scholar James McGrath, a cute take on religious logic (especially as applied to Creationism)...

Monday, July 29, 2013

In reflecting this morning on the Pope's recent comments about not judging gay people the following occurs to me: If one looks back over the history of the Western world (I specify the "Western" world because I am far less familiar with the history of other parts of the world, such as the East), one can see a long arc that incrementally bends towards justice and inclusion of everyone (to paraphrase MLK), regardless of gender, race, or myriad other intrinsic factors. Over the course of time humanity is inexorably moving towards a place of ascribing equality to *all* people; of valuing and celebrating the wonderful diversity in humanity. There are, of course, setbacks and false starts along the way, but the tide is irresistible because it is God who is steadily drawing us. The remarkable changes in attitudes towards LGBTQ people in recent years are not merely the results of a cultural phenomenon; it is the handiwork of God and it fits a larger pattern.

Friday, July 26, 2013

There is an excellent post over at the Unfundamentalist Christian blog on Patheos, entitled "The Spirit vs. the Letter: Biblicalism and Conscience".


"The analogy is not that slavery and homosexuality are the same, a nonsensical argument that ignores the true issue. The analogy works precisely because those who so vehemently assert that the Bible unambiguously condemns homosexuality are the inheritors of the same methodology slaveholders used to justify slavery: namely, they pointed to the literal word of God, and rejected arguments that slavery was not in keeping with the spirit of the rest of the Bible, just as opponents of homosexuality today reject any argument from the Bible concerning love, justice, even gender neutrality, and demand explicit 'biblical' support for gay rights."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jesus said, "Come to me you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." We Christians often dwell on Jesus as a source of great comfort and rest for our souls--and he very much is. But, I must confess, Jesus also sometimes comes to me as a source of great *dis-comfort* and *un-rest*. As a white, heterosexual, educated, healthy, middle-class, middle-aged, American male--what is "weary and heavy-laden" to me often comes under the heading of "First World Problems." In the culture and geographic zone in which I live, I realize that I am ensconced deep in the safe center. But Jesus likes to hang out on the margins, with the marginalized and imperiled people. And he calls me to join him there. This "holy agitation" from the Spirit is disconcerting and discomforting and unrestful. And yet, I find that as I take the risk of following Jesus and surrendering to God's agenda, I do find both peace and purpose.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

UK Quakers Rejoice About Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage

This Friend speaks my mind...

"Quakers take decisions seriously, and collectively, drawing on our experience of God in our lives. Listening to the experience of same-sex and opposite-sex couples’ lives together, we heard of the same joys and challenges, the same sharing, caring, trust and mutual support, the same love for one another. It is a natural extension of our belief that each person is equal in the sight of God, to recognise the equal value of all committed relationships."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, "If anyone seeks to be my disciple, he must protect himself and take up his gun and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life must be prepared to take someone else's, and whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel should have been better armed." - Mark 8:34-35 (NRA)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"I take my stand with a quotation from an impeccably traditional witness, Augustine, who wrote, 'Whoever, therefore, thinks that he understands the divine Scriptures or any part of them so that it does not build the double love of God and of our neighbor does not understand it at all.' By this light, any interpretation of Scripture that hurts people, oppresses people, or destroys people cannot be the right interpretation, no matter how traditional, historical or exegetically respectable. There can be no debate about the fact that the church's stand on homosexuality has caused oppression, lonliness, self-hatred, violence, sickness, and suicide for millions of people. If the church wishes to continue with its traditional interpretation it must demonstrate, not just claim, that it is more loving to condemn homosexuality than to affirm homosexuals. Can the church show that same-sex loving relationships damage those involved in them? Can the church give compelling reasons to believe that it really would be better for all lesbian and gay Christians to live alone, without the joy of intimate touch, without hearing a lover's voice when they go to sleep or awake? Is it really better for lesbian and gay teenagers to despise themselves and endlessly pray that their very personalities be reconstructed so that they may experience romance like their straight friends? Is it really more loving for the church to continue its worship of 'heterosexual fulfillment' (a 'nonbiblical' concept, by the way) while consigning thousands of its members to a life of either celibacy or endless psychological manipulations that masquerade as 'healing'?

The burden of proof in the last twenty years has shifted. There are too many of us who are not sick, or inverted, or perverted, or even 'effeminate,' but who just have a knack for falling in love with people of our own sex. When we have been damaged, it has not been due to our homosexuality but to other's and our own denial of it. The burden of proof now is not on us, to show that we are not sick, but rather on those who insist that we would be better off going back into the closet. What will 'build the double love of God and of our neighbor'? ...

We ask the question that must be asked: 'What is the loving thing to do?'"

-Dale B. Martin, Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University, Sex and the Single Savior

Monday, July 08, 2013

Friday, July 05, 2013

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Quote of the Day

"And now, friends and countrymen, if the wise and learned philosophers of the elder world, the first observers of nutation and aberration, the discoverers of maddening ether and invisible planets, the inventors of Congreve rockets and Shrapnel shells, should find their hearts disposed to enquire what has America done for the benefit of mankind? Let our answer be this: America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government. America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit."

- John Quincy Adams, 1821

July 4th

Listening to the booms and fizzles of fireworks echoing through the neighborhood and thinking of the people in so many parts of the world for whom such sounds represent not an annoyance but a real and imminent and terrifying danger.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Quote of the Day

"The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls." - Elizabeth Cady Stanton