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Subject:A question...
Time:01:18 pm
Current Mood:curiouscurious
Hi all. I have a question for some of you. But before that, I want to tell you what this is not... This is not an invitation to revisit the LCMS/ELCA pissing contests that have erupted here in the past. This is not me seeking to correct anyone on their doctrine or beliefs.

What this is is me seeking to understand the perspective of people who believe differently than me. So please listen to my heart rather than my words, in case my combative nature seeps through, despite my best efforts to suppress it.

This was all brought about by a posting at a friend's Facebook, regarding the recent vote by Presbyterians to continue to disallow gay clergy. He seemed genuinely shocked by this development, which leads me to my question: If you do believe that gay clergy (or indeed the embracing of the gay lifestyle) is a good thing, what is your reasoning behind that belief? And how is that belief reconciled with the clear scriptural prohibition of said lifestyle?

And let me say for the record that by my own reasoning, the gay lifestyle is no big deal to me. I once belonged to the "build your own theology" school of thought that is so popular today, and my beliefs were probably in line with more liberal schools of thought. ("Liberal" is by no means used here as an insult, as is so often the case when dealing with conservatives.) However, after a long series of events I began to read the Bible and became convinced of God's omnipotence, and from that moment forward have believed that he is more than powerful enough to preserve his word through the ages. Therefore I trust it as being completely inerrant. So while I personally might not be able to see the harm in something, I trust in him to know better than I do what is good for us, and in that faith I go by his word rather than my own understanding of what might be right or wrong.

And please do not take this as me attempting to tell you why you should believe as I do. No, I tell you all of this so that you may understand my point of view. As I said before, I come not seeking an argument, but understanding of a different perspective.

If you would be so kind, I would ask any of you who respond to limit yourself to explaining why you believe as you do, as opposed to elucidating why one side or the other needs to change. I do not want this to become contentious, and ask that we all speak kindly and gently.

Thank you all for your time!
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basswhooper
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-04-27 07:09 pm (UTC)
You're absolutely right about it being a touchy issue, and I was frankly afraid of posting it for fear that it would be seen as "baiting people who didn't share (my) opinion... Even with all (my) disclaimers". But in the end my desire for understanding was greater than my fear of being misunderstood.

I will not cite passages of scripture pertaining to this. To do so would be to incite argument, and you're already familiar with them. What I want to know, however, is whether you disregard those passages, or if you perhaps think they have a different meaning than I do?

And let me also state that a great many of my fellow conservatives have blown this WAY out of proportion. Do conservatives believe it to be sinful? Yes. Is it any bigger a sin than any of the other sins? Of course not. So dipsticks like Fred Phelps and his "God Hates Fags" cronies and their ilk are going to be very surprised when they find themselves on the wrong side of God's judgement.

Lastly, thank you for your kind words. Although my inner asshole often jumps up and grabs the reins, I do try to keep him subdued and be a thoughtful person. Again, thank you!
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blergeatkitty
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-04-27 07:59 pm (UTC)
I don't disregard the passages, I just think that, like a lot lot LOT of the Bible, they need to be examined in their proper historical and textual context. In every passage where homosexuality is addressed, it's in the context of either pagan orgies or adultery, not of loving relationships. Often it's also surrounded by a lot of other prohibitions that either we generally don't consider at all sinful in the modern era (widows remarrying, eating shellfish) or apply to situations that just don't come up anymore (how to treat our slaves and concubines) - many of which the Bible suggests we no longer have to adhere to now that Jesus has been here.

I think we agree on something fundamental - that people who are going to use the Bible should actually read it. I admire your wish to deepen your faith through understanding, and I wish more people would do it. I admit I don't devote enough time to studying the Bible.

I'm curious - what is your feeling about divorce? (Since several of these passages come from places where divorce was discussed immediately before or immediately after.) I come from a blended family in which my LCMS stepfather joined my mother's ELCA church after they were married - second marriage for both. Marrying him was one of the best things my mother ever did as far as I'm concerned, and it gave me the kind of stable family life I wouldn't have had if she'd stayed with my biological father - the kind of family that conservatives always say they're trying to protect. Also, the pastor at my current church was divorced as a young man and remarried while in seminary - my (very limited) understanding of LCMS policies suggests this would not fly over there. Certainly the Bible is clearer on that than it is about homosexuality...your thoughts?

This is probably the most respectful dialogue I've ever had about this issue. Thank you for that!
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basswhooper
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-04-27 08:16 pm (UTC)
Yes, it would appear that we are in agreement on that. There is a fellow (whose name I forget, but you'll know him if you ever see him; he has hair that'll make you think of Johnny Bravo) who did a series of youth ministry videos dealing with difficult topics such as this. A point he made in one video (women as clergy) was that, whatever you believe, be able to tell people why you believe it. Don't just shrug your shoulders and say "I dunno/It just feels right/It's just what I've always been told or taught", which I thought was dead on the money. So at the risk of being repetitive, thank you again for your kind words. :)

My feelings on divorce are quite simple. Is divorce aside from marital unfaithfulness (which is not limited to adultery, btw...) a sin? Yep. Is it a forgivable sin? Yep. Once it's been forgiven, can one move on with their life? Yep. To expect a divorced person to remain single for the rest of their life is hard-headed legalism, and it's the very type of religiosity that Jesus railed against throughout his ministry. There's a bit more I could say, but that about sums it up. (Having been involved in youf ministry for nearly five years, I am incredibly angry at people for taking marriage and divorce WAAAAAYY too lightly and not considering the emotional impact on their children, but that's another story.)

As far as LCMS policies on divorced pastors, I have no clue. It would appear that your very limited understanding exceeds mine.

And without another person, this would just be a monologue. Thank you for your participation!
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padawanspider
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-04-30 01:47 am (UTC)
I've now met two LCMS pastors who had been married and divorced before they went to seminary. One remarried before, and I'm not sure when the other remarried. Not aware of any who divorced during or after seminary, though.
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