Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bible Believing Christian pt II

Another plain truth must be said: Just because something is recorded as happening in the Bible, does not mean it was righteous.  Even if it was acceptable at the time, that does not mean it is righteous.  I repeat:

Just because something is recorded in the Bible, that does not make it righteous. Even if it was socially acceptable at the time, that does not make it righteous.

What does it mean to "believe" the Bible?  I believe the Bible exists, and has been around for thousands of years.  I even believe it is inspired, but I don't think being inspired means "channeled as the 100% actual words of the actual Living God".  Not one of the authors, as far as I know, claimed to be in a trance where God took over their bodies and the words then appeared on the page. The closest claim for that would be the tablets with the Ten Commandments.

Ten.  Commandments.  Not the Old Testament Law in its entirety as it would come to be recorded later.  Just the Top Ten.

Almost all of it was written ex post facto.  No one was following Jesus around with a tape recorder.  Whoever wrote Genesis clearly wasn't there, writing down events as if he were a modern day reporter.  Use some common sense people.

Inspired, according the Free Dictionary, is used to mean "1. To affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence."

I have been changed by the Divine Presence, confronted  by what can only be described as a mystical experience. This amazing, almost undescribable experience was very affecting.  I would be remiss if I did not include that this revelation was given to me as I called on the name of Jesus.  I would also be remiss if I did not point out that as a young girl in the South, this was the only name for God I had ever known.  I called on God in my extreme need, and Love answered.

It has guided my life for many years now. In fact, this reality of experience lends credence to everything I read in the Bible about Jesus, who He really is, how He loves, how merciful He is.  If God exists, and I believe He does, then reality will have been made by Him as well.  Rather than throw out reality, the study of reality can help us to understand the greatness of God.  Science is my friend.

Even though I have had this personal experience, one so close in many ways to the prophet Isaiah when he saw the Lord that I want to yell, "I totally get you, dude!" to the sky every time I read it, that does not make me some spiritual know-it-all.  It does not make me the infallible mouthpiece of God, and neither did it make Isaiah the infallible mouthpiece of God.  Moses, or Jeremiah, or Ezekiel, none of those other people were inerrant either.  They were PEOPLE, people!!  People who had amazing mystical experiences in some cases, but mere people none the less.

Do I believe in the Bible?  Well, it's more honest to say that I believe in Jesus.  I believe Abraham existed, and had amazing mystical experiences with God.  He was called a friend of God, is that not precious?  But he was still just a man.  He was wrong to pawn his wife off as his sister and basically hand her over for sex with strangers.  Just because Abraham did something doesn't make it righteous.

My two biggest beefs with this new-found glorification of all things Biblical are those listed above. Being recorded in the Bible doesn't make something righteous.  Even if it was socially acceptable at the time, that does not make it righteous.

How can these people who claim to believe in the total depravity of man (which I don't) somehow give a special dispensation for the various authors of the sixty-six books of the Bible?  Jesus gets the distinction of purity, not only because He claimed to be God, but because of the kindness, compassion and true justice embodied in his life and words.  It was amazing enough to start a whole new way of living.  People were inspired, and continue to be inspired, by the goodness of Jesus Christ. Heck, even the Dalia Lama is inspired by the goodness of Christ.

But many of the things that were socially acceptable at the time of Christ and the apostles are no longer socially acceptable, nor should they be. Slavery is unacceptable in light of Jesus command to "love one another as I have loved you".  Woman were considered the property of men at that time, but that also could not continue if we were to fulfill Jesus desire that "we all be one".  You can't own people and love them as you love yourself,  nor can you be in unity with a person under your total legal control.  The power imbalance makes that impossible.

*John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

 *which, by the way, is such an eastern way of thinking about the Divine.  I love it. Go Jesus.

So, the reality that under Mosiac Law, cross dressers were considered "abominations" isn't really relevant in the kingdom of God.  I can eat shellfish, wear polyester, sow two crops in the same field if I want (a great plan for gardening, by the way) AND be a cross dresser if it makes me happy.  It does no one any evil, so it qualifies as loving according to Romans 13:10, and LOVE, that verse (and others) also declares, IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW.

I also really don't care that Paul, raised up under that same archaic law, and educated at one time to be an expert in that law, was creeped out by gay people.  Paul was not God, people. Heck, he went around murdering Christians and consenting to the death of others for years.  He got all snitty and ugly with John Mark for a season there, too.  Paul himself never claimed to be Divine.  He was capable of error.  So when he lists being gay up there with all the sins the pagans commit, he was just showing his Pharisee background.

And as far as that list goes, disobeying parents is on that list too!  Do we understand as people that some disobedience of parents is called for?  Yes, we do. If a parents request is abusive, illegal or merely humiliating, righteous people would say that disobedience in that case is NOT sin.

Paul was looking at pagan Rome, and condemning them for all the things he saw that were not right, including temple prostitution, even gay and lesbian prostitution.  Since slavery was openly practiced, I am not sure how many of these prostitutes had a choice, but I know who did: the "worshippers" using their services.  I, along with the apostle Paul, will openly condemn sexual slavery and the use of paid sex as an act of worship, whether that be straight or gay sex.

But I will not, can not, condemn loving relationships between any consenting adults.  It's a catch-22 to say that all gay liasons are unholy because they can't be married.  Let them marry then, and let's give their love the blessing of the state (and I think the church should be eager to sanctify any committed love relationship of disciples of that faith). Then they too can experience the same holiness that we heteros know: self-control until marriage, faithful commitment after.

There is nothing inherently holy about slavery because it is accepted in certain Bible texts.  There is nothing inherently evil about pork, shellfish or gay love because the OT law condemns such, nor because Paul was creeped out by it.

Love trumps everything else in the Bible.  Jesus gave us ONE new command, love one another as He loves us.  Everything should be judged by that ONE command, and by that command, love between gay people is as holy and good as love between straight people.  And I say that with complete conviction, as a Bible-believing Christian.

1 comment:

  1. How can these people who claim to believe in the total depravity of man (which I don't) somehow give a special dispensation for the various authors of the sixty-six books of the Bible?

    That is a good point!