December 20, 2013

"For 20 years, I’ve served this church, and it has now put me outside."

"I find myself totally shunned, excluded. It just felt awful."

90 comments:

Gahrie said...

If one can no longer follow the teaching of a church, and the vast majority of the members of that church are uinwilling to change, then one should find a new church, not start a revolt.

Paco Wové said...

"Mr. Schaefer has four children, three of whom are gay."

What are the odds?

Paco Wové said...

"The church’s Book of Discipline, which contains its law and doctrine, forbids same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay people, and says that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” Efforts to amend the Book of Discipline have been defeated by increasingly wide margins..."

That, on the other hand, seems pretty clear and straightforward.

Darrell said...

What are the odds?

Odds are the fourth child has tungsten steel braces and tourettes.

fivewheels said...

I'm not a religious person, but I respect people who are because I grew up with them and understand them.

However, what I will never understand is people who think it makes sense to believe in part of a religion. That's just wrong. You can believe it's the word and will of God or don't, but don't pretend you can second-guess it. Ridiculous and beyond hubristic.

SGT Ted said...

Dude wants his cafeteria Christianity, as long as it goes his way.

C Stanley said...

He may have felt he had reason to do so, but he chose to put himself outside of the church he had served.

betamax3000 said...

He was asked, “Will you uphold the Book of Discipline in its entirety?”

He answered, “Unfortunately, I cannot.”

Modern America.

Obama was asked "Will you uphold the Constitution in its entirety?

Obama answered, “Unfortunately, I cannot.”

C Stanley said...

Good one, betamax.

Does that mean we can now defrock Barack?

Renee said...

What about his congregation?

Me. Me. Me.

Hagar said...

So, how many legs does a dog have if you also count his tail as a leg?

Renee said...

http://juicyecumenism.com/2013/12/12/lgbt-activists-launch-campaign-to-divest-from-disrupt-umc/

The flyer bears the logo and website information of a group called Love Prevails, which appears to simply consist of DeLong (whose employment appears limited to professional protesting) and a small number of her friends. ”Having experienced the liberating truth imparted by the Spirit,” it reads, “we can no longer sit in silent acquiescence before the unjust laws of The United Methodist Church… [W]e hereby declare that until and through General Conference 2016, we will engage in a three-dimensional strategy to abolish the policies of discrimination against LGBT people. We will: Disclose(t), Divest, and Disrupt.”

harrogate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
harrogate said...

People make a much bigger deal out of homosexuality than any holy text does.

You could read the whole Bible front to back and yes, you'd see some condemnation of same-sex sex, just as you'd see condemnation of a lots of things. But if you read it in a vacuum--say, if you were an alien who scored a translation of it, I am wagering dollars to dingleberries that same-sex sex wouldn't even be on your radar when asked to give a review of the book by your fellow aliens.

The question is not, does this guy want to treat it like a buffet? The question in practical terms is always, who will decide what the buffet will be.

C Stanley said...

Harrogate, I think the reason it gets treated that way is because it is the one sexual sin which by it's nature can't be kept completely private. It's inevitable that people are confronted by it in a way that isn't necessary for people who have other sexual preferences that are between man and woman- they can engage in those preferences in the bedroom but in public they're indistinguishable from other heterosexual couples.

That's why there's a scandal element (the religious sense of the word scandal) to the acceptance of homosexuality.

harrogate said...

C. Stanley,

That may be the reason indeed, although I think we can all come up with a pretty good list of other "sexual sins" with which the public is confronted regularly. Strip clubs and nightclubs aren't exactly tucked away in the middle of nowhwere, for example (well, maybe the best ones are, but that's another story...)

And that's not counting the plentitude of "non sexual sins" that fly in everyone's faces all the time. I missed the passages where it was said "the sexual sins count the most"--indeed, a clarion call among many on these very boards is to remind everyone of the lack of gradations among sins. So people taking "sexual sins" extra, extra seriously in general, says a Hell (see what I did there?) of a lot more about people, than it does about anything written in any holy text.

Ann Althouse said...

It's also something — call it a sin if you want or need to — that most people feel no urge to do.

I think it's incredibly lame — and if sin is a concept, a sin — to make the biggest deal out of the sinfulness of the sins you aren't even attracted to.

It seems to me that Jesus stressed looking at your own sins and not those of other people. Anyone who isn't gay and who is making a big deal out of gay conduct is missing the Christian orientation.

Now, this particular minister knowingly violated the policy of the organization that employed him and he understood the consequence. He chose to do this and got his message out powerfully. It's a form of civil disobedience. The organization must work through whether it wants to lose people like him and drive away members who think that man has the better understanding of religion.

madAsHell said...

four children, three of whom are gay.

Without breeders, homosexuality would be impossible!!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

harrogate-

Can you give an example of another category of sin where the sinners are asking the church to change its doctrine to reclassify their behavior as not sinful?

I believe that is why the issue is treated as such a big deal.

Big Mike said...

@SGT Ted, I like that phrase "cafeteria Christianity." Hope you don't mind if I borrow it.

@Althouse, last paragraph of your 9:00 comment is an excellent summary.

Ann Althouse said...

"However, what I will never understand is people who think it makes sense to believe in part of a religion. That's just wrong. You can believe it's the word and will of God or don't, but don't pretend you can second-guess it. Ridiculous and beyond hubristic."

But what is the religion? It is constantly evolving and being redefined. Even for traditionalists, tradition is a living thing. Even if you think you must follow the book, you don't follow everything it the book. If you have an authority figure at the top, like the Pope, he may answer the questions for you. But in most Christian sects, many people participate in saying what the doctrine is. These people aren't saying I only want to do the parts I like, but: I'm part of discovering what this religion really is.

Some of this participation may be self-serving or stupid, but I don't think you can say that about the man described at the link.

Do you eat cheeseburgers or pork? If you do, you're choosing not to follow some of the rules in the Bible. If you are doing that because you like those foods, and making a big deal out of homosexuality when you have zero interest in homosexual sex, then you are being self-servingly selective.

"“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.""

Are you seeing clearly, by Jesus's reckoning?

John Lynch said...

Denominations that embrace homosexuality find that they lose a large fraction of their members soon after.

The Episcopal Church decided to endorse same-sex marriage in 2006... then lost 13% of their congregation in 5 years.

As a practical matter, it's organizational suicide for a Protestant church to embrace same-sex marriage. They are already in trouble, and it's folly to think that gay marriage is going to draw more people to these organizations in anything like the numbers they will lose.

The overwhelming majority of people in favor of same-sex unions aren't going to church at all. Nor will they ever.

People who do go to church want some kind of moral guidance, not anything-goes libertine excuse-making.

Darrell said...

Double posting isn't the only form of doubletalk here.

John Lynch said...

So, you can "evolve" your religion completely out of existence.

This isn't about religion that accepts homosexuality or not. It's about having any religion at all or not. That's the practical result.

There's plenty of evidence in Europe that if religion doesn't distinguish itself from secular norms it simply vanishes, having lost any purpose.

C Stanley said...

@harrogate: ignorance is bliss beat me to the response I would have made. It's the combination of the outward scandal and the plea for acceptance. People who flaunt sexual acts that are considered sinful, but don't care that they are outside the Church, aren't part of the equation here.

The only thing I see that comes close is cohabitation, and while I can't speak for other denominations I know the Catholic Church preaches as strongly against that as it does against homosexuality.

Darrell said...

The Christian religion doesn't have any problem with homosexuality, only with homosexual acts. Say that's unfair? Say it's innate? Well, perhaps so is pedophilia. Want to condone those acts?

MattL said...

I think it's incredibly lame — and if sin is a concept, a sin — to make the biggest deal out of the sinfulness of the sins you aren't even attracted to.

I think, as Ignorance is Bliss pointed out, that it's the agitation to reclassify it as not sin that is what gets it attention.

The closest I can think of is perhaps adultery, where there is a lot of push to make it no big deal, but not nearly on the same level as homosexuality.

There's a difference between cheeseburgers and pork, at least to a modern observer, since we have refrigeration and sanitation and better understanding on how to prevent disease and parasites. Choosing not to have a traditional marriage with children on a large enough scale is societal suicide (yes, there are ways to artificially procreate, but I don't think we have the resources to do that at the same scale as traditional procreation).

So there's value to a society encouraging, err, breeding pairs in a way that avoiding bacon does not, whether either one is divinely directed or not.

Shouting Thomas said...

The real question is why Althouse is so determined that we should all be fags. She's been running a full court press to faggotize and pussify men for the past few years. All under this guise of being "helpful" to men who need to adjust to the new reality of idiot feminist dogma.

She will deny it and demand that I quote chapter and verse from her writing.

This is stupid shit, but it has always obsessed eggheads. The gay shit is an exercise in class snobbery. The more distance you declare publicly between sexuality and function, the more elevated a plane on which you reside.

The foolishness of this bullshit is good for plenty of laughs, but there is a fascist, violent thread at the heart of it that will not play out well.

The level of self-deception Althouse is employing is awesome. Things are really falling apart in the U.S. of A when this ridiculous shit is the dominant discourse.

We men don't need to adjust. We need to defeat Althouse and her feminist colleagues.

Or, alternatively, men can refuse to live in Althouse's faggotized, pussified world. More men make that choice every day.

Fuck your "help," Althouse.

gerry said...

Anyone who isn't gay and who making a big deal out of gay conduct is missing the Christian orientation.

If one condones a sin - especially one which is serious in nature - one commits themselves a serious sin. And if a minister, a church elder, a priest teaches that what is a serious sin is not a sin, and leads people into what is an implicit rejection of God's will, they will suffer severe punishment:

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (Mt 18:6)

Inclusion of a person in a church is a loving thing, but inclusion of sin - of sinful behavior - is precisely the opposite, since that leads to spiritual disaster.

Pray for those who are misled into sin by worldly fashionability and for those who condone, applaud or encourage it.

harrogate said...

"The only thing I see that comes close is cohabitation, and while I can't speak for other denominations I know the Catholic Church preaches as strongly against that as it does against homosexuality."

That claim about the Catholic Church, my friend, is *highly* debatable, first of all. I mean, perhaps internally this is true; as I am not a Catholic I would not know. But as someone who follows public events, UI can say with utmost certainty that public statements released by high profile Catholics about cohabitation are, shall we say, but the smallest, teensiest blip on the screen compared to the disquisitions regarding homosexual sex.

One might say the reason for this brings us back to Althouse's recent comment, in some ways. For howeversomuch cohabitation may count as "sexual sin" in the eyes of churches everywhere, so very many people do it, within and outside the church, it would be too much like atttacking oneself with feeling, for ""Bible believers" everywhere (unite!) to attack cohabitation full cannons a'blazing. So much easier to condemn homosexual sex as though it is the very embodimentg of all that is wrong, than to take on those couple from those Billy Joel songs, yes?

And yet and still. Why all the extra focus on sexual sins at all? That, like the focus on one particular sexual sin, is also something the alien would not glean from reading text. It's not about the Bible at all. It is about people. That's the point.

Darrell said...

Food prohibitions were due to things we now understand--like Trichinosis. We now know how to destroy that pathogen--the root cause. What happens to those who study the root causes of homosexuality in an effort to one day cure it medically? Even thinkling that it is an abnormality will get you shunned.

Mary Martha said...

"Anyone who isn't gay and who is making a big deal out of gay conduct is missing the Christian orientation."

Like the minister in this case?

I am not gay and am a Christian. This is NEVER an issue I bring up because it really isn't important to me. The problem is that there are those who never cease bringing it up. Those people are gay.

So what are Christians who disagree with the gay agitators to do? Should they not respond because it isn't a sin that they are tempted towards? Or should they reach out and try to compassionately explain their POV on the issue?

John Lynch said...

Cheeseburgers and pork are explicitly allowed in the book of Acts, in one of my favorite passages.

The same book also prohibits homosexuality and adultery.

So, there you are, if the New Testament matters at all to you.

harrogate said...

"Food prohibitions were due to things we now understand--like Trichinosis. We now know how to destroy that pathogen--the root cause. What happens to those who study the root causes of homosexuality in an effort to one day cure it medically? Even thinkling that it is an abnormality will get you shunned."

Darrell, you're mixing causes with effects in a pretty sloppy way there. Maybe the better analog would be STDs and the effort to eradicate them through modern medical technology, as a way of making people "chill out" regarding sexual sins. But even that would be problematical.

Shouting Thomas said...

The best thing about being retired is that I don't have to accommodate women like Althouse who are determined to faggotize and pussify men.

HR departments are full of young female commissars dispatched from the Gulag that is the university system to carry out the faggotization and pussification program. The makework program that is Diversity gave these fascist women a foothold.

I survived and outfought all of them.

Women need to be pushed back into useful occupations, like teaching and housewife, that don't bring out their inner Stalinist. That means pushing them out of HR and middle management. They aren't doing any real work. All they do is enforce the dogma.

Darrell said...

The causes and effects are not transposed. Pathogen (trichina worm)[found in raw pork]-->Trichinosis (disease). Homosexuality would be the disease or abnormality.

C Stanley said...

That claim about the Catholic Church, my friend, is *highly* debatable, first of all. I mean, perhaps internally this is true; as I am not a Catholic I would not know. But as someone who follows public events, UI can say with utmost certainty that public statements released by high profile Catholics about cohabitation are, shall we say, but the smallest, teensiest blip on the screen compared to the disquisitions regarding homosexual sex.

I am a member of a very conservative parish and I can assure you that the emphasis is as I stated. Should you wish to bedome more informed, read the Catholic Catechism. Instead, I presume you're drawing your conclusion from media reports which involve reporters asking specific questions. Does anyone care to ask the Pope for his views on fornication before marriage? Does anyone doubt what those views are?

Lyssa said...

I would bet that 20 years ago, when he was just starting his service in the church, the church believed the same as it does now, and that he accepted if not agreed with that belief. If you change your mind about something, you can certainly explain why and hope that others change their minds as well. But you can't reasonably expect them to do so.

C Stanley said...

@Professor Althouse- I'm sure some Christian leaders and preachers are inordinately obsessed but how much do you know about the entire body of preaching by Christians? From what are you drawing your conclusion of an overall attitude of obsession? As a Catholic Christian, I can assure you that it feels to me that the obsession all flows from the other direction, from those who seek to have homosexuality defined the same as sacramental heterosexual unions.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"Do you eat cheeseburgers or pork? If you do, you're choosing not to follow some of the rules in the Bible. "

Being a Christian those rules don't apply. A good portion of the New Testament is about how the Old Testament rules are no longer required because Jesus has sacrificed himself for us.

This isn't a matter of interpretation, it is a fundamental part of the religion, found in its most sacred texts.

But I definitely agree with:

"It seems to me that Jesus stressed looking at your own sins and not those of other people. Anyone who isn't gay and who is making a big deal out of gay conduct is missing the Christian orientation."

There is far more instances of condemnation of financial sins (oppressing the poor) than sexual conduct in the Bible.

Act 10:

Peter went up on the roof to pray.

10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance.

11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.

12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds.

13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

MayBee said...

Do you eat cheeseburgers or pork? If you do, you're choosing not to follow some of the rules in the Bible. If you are doing that because you like those foods, and making a big deal out of homosexuality when you have zero interest in homosexual sex, then you are being self-servingly selective.

But part of choosing an organized religion is following a doctrine which interprets the Biblical teachings and incorporates that interpretation into ritual and worship. That's why there isn't one Christian Church, but many denominations. So choosing a religion is not as simple as following the Bible.

I also don't agree with not making a big deal about sins you aren't attracted to committing. Most people aren't interested in murdering someone or pedophilia, but those are very big sins worth teaching against.

As for me, I'm Christian but I don't attend church for the very reason that I don't want someone interpreting the rules for me. I don't see much point in choosing a church of my own free will and then deciding it had to change to meet my beliefs.

vicari valdez said...

the bible clearly condones slavery, but you don't see many christians today who do. isn't that just another example of the way religion can be malleable and evolve for the better?

C Stanley said...

also don't agree with not making a big deal about sins you aren't attracted to committing. Most people aren't interested in murdering someone or pedophilia, but those are very big sins worth teaching against.

Good point, May. It also goes to a related point discussed upstream- the amount of preaching is proportional to the amount of pushback. If there were organizations trying to normalize and decriminalize those actions, there would be far more preaching about them.

Instead, there is a more subtle form of preaching related to murder, which does put the focus on violation of the 5th commandment that most of us do commit,, and subtler forms of preaching against pedophilia like discussing the rampant sexualization of young people in pop culture and advertising.

Paul Zrimsek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

The problem is that there are those who never cease bringing it up. Those people are gay.

Don't think so. Some are, obviously, but most of the hullabaloo comes from straight leftists that just have to find something objectionable to force onto the rest of us.

C Stanley said...

@vicari valdez, perhaps, but it would be a fallacy to claim that this then means that all "evolution" would be for the better.

Paul Zrimsek said...

It's times like this that I regret being mostly on Althouse's side of the debate. If "Shut up and let us win by default" were really the best argument we had, I wouldn't be.

Anglelyne said...

Damn, dissenters sure are lazy these days. Used to be, you didn't get huffy and whiny, you got schismatic! "Here I stand, I can do no other." Now it's all "but I'm going to stamp my feet and force you to looooove me and acceeeeept me!"

The tone of that article is so very comically NYT. The brave heroes of righteousness will not be intimidated by the all-powerful minions of an organization...that nobody is forced to belong to, and anyway you can start your own church with your own rules anytime you like.

"We will not be intimidated by...the Methodist Church." Just something off here that I can't quite put my finger on.

vicari valdez said...

@C Stanley
sure. but all i'm saying is that if the bible can be right about one thing that all christians seem to agree upon, it can be wrong about another. and idk, homosexual acts seem pretty harmless to me.

C Stanley said...

Vicari- that's because you are looking at it in isolation, when the religious view is that sexual morality matters because our sexuality is part of God's plan for us to participate in creation of life. That's a pretty glorious gift to toss aside nonchalantly.

Chef Mojo said...

@vicari valdez:

While the Bible condones slavery, it does not require it.

That's a huge distinction.

Biblical prohibitions are requirements of that society's behavior.

Renee said...

@harrogate

I attend Mass weekly plus Holy days, we're Catholic. I've never had a homily that focused on homosexual behavior, except a ministry for the victims of AIDS. And even that.... we dont talk about the behavior that transmit it.

We do talk about marriage and fatherless, and a consistent pro-life ethic from conception to death. In the parish bulletin there may a notice for a Natural Family Class, or why we clearly state the conjugal act makes man and woman become 'one flesh'. Matthew ch. 19

The secular media is obsessed presenting the Church as hating gay people. Back at the beginning Pope Benedict's leadership he wrote that every media interview had the SAME three questions.

As a non-Catholic I can't fault you for the perception that is presented to you.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

" I missed the passages where it was said "the sexual sins count the most"--indeed, a clarion call among many on these very boards is to remind everyone of the lack of gradations among sins. So people taking "sexual sins" extra, extra seriously in general, says a Hell (see what I did there?) of a lot more about people, than it does about anything written in any holy text."

People have a choice to get their morals philosophically, say by studying their own reflections on themselves and observations of nature and the opinions of others, or they can choose their morals more by tradition, as through a religion. The tendency to choose morals by tradition is especially strong as regards that which screws people up, i.e., addictions and most particularly insidious sexual addiction. The reason is very simple. Young people should be more willing to think for themselves about questions where it is not especially likely they are making a big mistake contrary to their nature. Parents should not force their children to not do things they only mildly disapprove of. Similarly, a child is more likely to weight a preference of the parent strongly if the parent feels strongly about something. Fortunately, teenagerish children tend to obey their parents when it comes to deciding what would be a big mistake capable of screwing one up; and unfortunately, the unbiased opinion of children often varies from their opinions after they are biased by those of their parents, because frequently the unbiased opinion is influenced by the addiction. Anyway, people haven't evolved the tendency to think for themselves as much about what constitutes being screwed up (sexual depravity) as about other matters, because the consequences of such decisions especially often directly affect children's mating decisions rather than one's own (and children are only half as much related to you). Accordingly, people tend to be conformist and to want to respect the ancient ancestral traditions more with respect to what is screwed-up than with respect to other things. And traditions that are screwed-up tend to die out before long, unless they are parasitically evangelical (in which case the tradition won't be long ancestral for many), though of course there will arise heretical traditions pretending to the important traditions (those regarding what is screwed up). Occasionally, there will be new traditions arising from the very few who actually think for themselves about such matters that are more correctly discriminating about what is screwed-up, though they may take a while to gain foothold, because people are very suspicious of innovation here.

Renee said...

http://www.usccb.org/bible/mt/19

@Harrogate

This is where our teaching comes from...




Marriage and Divorce.
1
* When Jesus* finished these words,* he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.
2
Great crowds followed him, and he cured them there.
3
a Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him,* saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”
4
* b He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’
5
c and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
6
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”
7
* d They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?”
8
He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
9
e I say to you,* whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”
10
[His] disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
11
He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word,* but only those to whom that is granted.
12
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage* for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

vicari valdez said...

obv in my last post i had meant to type:

*if the bible can be wrong about one thing

mccullough said...

The Unitarians are hiring.

vicari valdez said...

@Chef Mojo
wouldn't the most moral thing be to 'require' that people NOT own slaves? i think most christians today would agree with that.

also you should re-read the bible because some of the things slave owners are 'required' to do are pretty ghastly.

C Stanley said...

Vicari- i sort of glossed over that part of your comment, but it's not as though Scripture said slavery was good. Even condone is too string a word, perhaps accept is more accurate.

So your premise is flawed because even though modern Christians have a different perspective on slavery than people in Biblical times, there is no Biblical teaching on that topic which is conssidered "wrong".

C Stanley said...

also you should re-read the bible because some of the things slave owners are 'required' to do are pretty ghastly.

Cite?

vicari valdez said...

If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever. (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

^ here you have to keep a man's wife and kids after you've freed him.

When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

^ here it clearly says you can beat your slaves half to death and that they are property.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

^ here it says slaves have to be obedient to their masters.

Andy Freeman said...

The whole "what about cheeseburgers?" argument misses the point.

The members of a church get to decide how to interpret their gospels. No other interpretation matters.

If you like their interpretation or can convince them to adopt your interpretation, you can be a member. If not, you can't.

There's no "right" to be a member of a given church, let alone to have a church believe as you'd like.

I do wonder about folks who want so desperately to be part of an organization that they believe doesn't like them.

Paddy O said...

Man has affair. Wife files for divorce. Man says, "I've been married 20 years and now she's pushing me to the side."

Renee said...

@vicar I

That chapter you cited, if you read the whole thing argues for capital punishment as well.

Renee said...

@vicar

Jesus addresses Exodus 21 in Matthew 5

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'
39
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.
40
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well.




Paddy O said...

Funny thing about slavery. Slave owners had huge, huge restrictions about literacy and church exposure for slaves. Like in Medieval era, the Bible was kept away from slaves or kept controlled by sanctioned leaders who communicated the safe parts.

Because, when slaves read the Bible they realized they were 1) valued by God 2) that the Bible points to freedom all throughout.

Hinduism, in contrast, creates a fundamental caste system so that the more you know, the more it embeds the social distinctions.

Again and again, the more a person was exposed to the Bible as a whole, the more people got inspired for freedom. The Exodus narrative, freedom from slavery, is the fundamental narrative of the Bible, an archetype for everything after.

If the Bible really preached slavery as a whole, why keep it hidden or prevent its translation or prevent literacy for the underclass.

It's why the Peasants were inspired by Luther. It's why John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, could write something like this:

The grand plea is, "They are authorized by law." But can law, human law, change the nature of things? Can it turn darkness into light, or evil into good? By no means. Notwithstanding ten thousand laws, right is right, and wrong is wrong still. There must still remain an essential difference between justice and injustice, cruelty and mercy. So that I still ask, Who can reconcile this treatment of the negroes, first and last, with either mercy or justice.

Where is the justice of inflicting the severest evils, on those who have done us no wrong? Of depriving those that never injured us in word or deed, of every comfort of life? Of tearing them from their native country, and depriving them of liberty itself?

To which an Angolan, has the same natural right as an Englishman, and on which he sets as high a value? Yea where is the justice of taking away the lives of innocent, inoffensive men? Murdering thousands of them in their own land, by the hands of their own countrymen: Many thousands, year after year, on shipboard, and then casting them like dung into the sea! And tens of thousands in that cruel slavery, to which they are so unjustly reduced?

But waving, for the present, all other considerations, I strike at the root of this complicated villainy. I absolutely deny all slave-holding to be consistent with any degree of even natural justice.

n.n said...

Organized, wealthy, and ready on a moment's notice. The homosexual lobby, and its heterosexual patrons, strike back. I wonder who will win the war of perceptions.

SteveR said...

Having been on the laity side of the UMC for 20 plus years, this is an issue which represents, although not entirely, the demise of the church. Clergy and those teaching in seminaries are generally very liberal in such things, the membership, as reflected in the Disclipline, not so much. Membership ages and declines, young families desiring a church home go elsewhere.

C Stanley said...

Vicari, I asked because you stipulated requirements. The only one that fits that is the requirement to keep a freed slaves wife and children, which may well have been meant to ensure that women and children could be provided for.

My understanding is that, however harsh to our sensibilities, those laws represented a vast improvement for slaves compared to previous conditions. I've also been taught that this body of law fell under the same category as the divorce law that Renee cites...that some laws were given according to what the Isrealites could handle at the time.

Paco Wové said...

"Clergy and those teaching in seminaries are generally very liberal in such things"

In your opinion, why is there such a disconnect between clergy and laity? If the clergy are 'in charge' of the church, can't they take it where they want it to go?

hombre said...

Althouse wrote: "It seems to me that Jesus stressed looking at your own sins and not those of other people. Anyone who isn't gay and who is making a big deal out of gay conduct is missing the Christian orientation."

St Paul is quite clear that church members have an obligation to address sinful behavior within the church. The teaching of Jesus does not contradict that.

And: "The organization must work through whether it wants to lose people like him and drive away members who think that man has the better understanding of religion."

Correct. There is no legitimate argument to be made within a Biblical framework that supports homosexual conduct or same sex marriage. An argument that any man, or men, can override the Bible is an argument for moral relativism and the end of a God-based church. Folks who make that argument should form their own church.

Perhaps Peter Singer can be their Pope.

Renee said...

So only gay Catholics can preach the Gospel to people who are gay?

Of course its easier for someone to relate, but gay sin and straight sin actually can have a lot in common.

William said...

It is possible to criticize the ethics and behavior of heterosexuals without being critical of heterosexuality. Why can't the same license be granted to those who wish to criticize homosexuals. I find no fault with gay marriage, but it does seem that many aspects of gay behavior are feckless beyond all comprehension. If you have anal intercourse with dozens of strangers a year, your behavior is so reckless as to be sinful. I don't think that gay marriage is the stumbling block people have towards gay behavior.

SteveR said...

In your opinion, why is there such a disconnect between clergy and laity?

The UMC uses a General Conference system of governance which has a significant role for laity. My opinion is that certain clergy and members, unhappy with the decisions of the General Conference, have chosen to destroy the church from within rather than leave and go where their views are accepted. Clergy want to stay because the UMC has a nice benefit and pension set up.

William said...

I think the gay marriage issue should be approached in the spirit of compromise. Christians should accept the institution of gay marriage, and gays, for their part, should forgo anal intercourse. That's the icky part of homosexuality. In my own marriage, I never felt the need to cement the bond with this act. Most married people do this sparingly and, until recently, most never did it at all.......In contra distinction, who among us can preach against oral sex and hand jobs without becoming hypocrites and whitened sepulchres. So let us meet on common ground. The homosexuals should be allowed to marry and be gay, but certain activities should be deemed tabu ad sinful.

Wa St Blogger said...

It is interesting that the quote from Ephesians 6:5 is taken by itself without the full context included. IT changes the whole tenor of the passage...

Ephesians 6:5-9 (NLT)

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6 Work hard, but not just to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. 7 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8 Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. 9 And in the same way, you masters must treat your slaves right. Don't threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.

Renee said...

@ William

I would compromise by calling everything civil unions and banning all forms of sperm/egg donations.

Adult rights make sense as long as they don't infringe the rights and obligations to children.

If a gay aunt raises her nephew because her brother is in jail and the mom is 'not available' I understand.

But any woman who would utilize sperm to deny .... or a man using egg/surrogacy.... is now treating a child as a product.

gregq said...

No, jerk, you walked outside and then pissed on the walls.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

gregq said...

Ann Althouse wrote:

"It seems to me that Jesus stressed looking at your own sins and not those of other people. Anyone who isn't gay and who is making a big deal out of gay conduct is missing the Christian orientation."

So, is anyone who isn't a pedophile, and who makes a big deal out of pedophilia, "missing the Christian orientation"?

How about bestiality?

Here's the deal, it's simple and straightforward:

You leave us alone, and we'll leave you alone.

You want to live a gay lifestyle? Fine. Go live it. Stay out of my church, because we think what you're doing is wrong. Don't come to my wedding photography business and demand I photograph your "wedding", because I think your "wedding" is a joke. Don't come to my bakery, and demand I make you a wedding cake. Don't come to my business, and demand I give you benefits that I never contracted to give your same sex "lover".

Leave us alone.

But that is EXACTLY what the left, and the "gay lobby", refuse to do. They insist on attacking, assaulting, and destroying everyone who does not bow down to them.

Fuck that.

You want to "live your own life"? Fine. Let me live mine. Otherwise? Fuck you.

n.n said...

Renee:

Homosexual and heterosexual sin are classified in exactly the same way. They are both abominations because they each invite dysfunctional outcomes. Whether you have a religious or natural perspective, there is a consensus of conclusions.

Harold said...

Just to throw another stone into the water to create more ripples, I was recently reading some atheist blogs. Apparently, the United Methodist Church has the highest percentage of atheist clergy of all major denominations.

But they don't give up their jobs. Preaching is all they know how to do.

As far as differences between the different Christian denominations, some are chasmlike, and some are minor doctrinal points. Or seem so to the laity, while the ministry sees different. For example, literal vs. figurative transubstantiation. Who cares? Well, The Pope and the various Orthodox Popes, to start.

Harold said...

As a follow up to my last comment, I'll mention that I was confirmed in the UMC way back a long time ago, and still have the Bible that was presented to me. The pastor was somewhat prescient- he outlined the parable of the prodigal son for me to read. We won't go in to why it was prescient. Have never left the UMC- but haven't been to a UMC service since about 1978 or so. Been to mass a whole lot, and my wife's family hasn't given up on trying to convert me, no matter how many times I tell them it's not going to happen. And since 1978 hae been to protestant services ranging from people rollling on the floor speaking in tongues to services that you couldn't tell weren't mass except by the sign on the church lawn. By far the most interesting service I have been to was an Orthodox mass on Crete. Was wandering by with others, in Navy uniform, and we when we paused to observe people going in, were waved in by people on the steps. We stood there about 30 minutes, fascinated by it all, watching people wander in and out throughout. Apparently it went on for hours. Was quite majestic, actually.

Just a story, nothing actually to do with the topic, except to point out that Christianity has one unified belief- the divinity of Christ, but a whole lot of differences. And if you want to start a theological battle, tell a Bible thumper you think Mormons are Christian...

Freeman Hunt said...

He said he would not consider leaving the Methodist Church for a denomination that has changed its teaching on homosexuality.

“It’s not that easy when a church is your spiritual home,” he said. “All my children have been baptized in the United Methodist Church. I don’t know how to be a minister out of the United Methodist Church.


The evidence says you do.

Robert Cook said...

"...I will never understand...people who think it makes sense to believe in part of a religion."

Well, one might say it is not a matter of choosing to believe only part of a religion, but choosing to interpret the teachings of the particular religion in a manner that differs from other interpretations. This is, of course, why we have different denominations within the Christian religion, the Catholics, Methodists, Protestants, Lutherans, Calvinists, Episcopalians, etc.

Freeman Hunt said...

Man has affair. Wife files for divorce. Man says, "I've been married 20 years and now she's pushing me to the side."

Paddy makes an excellent analogy.

Take the perspective of his congregation. He didn't show love and tolerance to gay people; he married two gay people, thus counseling them that not only was their homosexual behavior not sinful but to be celebrated and encouraged. From the congregation's perspective, he is purposely leading people astray, separating them from God. Of course they've fired him.

SJ said...

@vicari,

re: Bible and slavery

The Bible was generated in a culture in which slavery was normal. Several parts of that culture are now entirely foreign to us.

Though "slavery" may not mean what you think it means.

The Hebrew word translated "slave" is sometimes also translated as "servant". Especially when a nobleman or diplomat bows to a King...and the nobleman uses a phrase like "your servant" or "your slave" while describing himself.

When Abraham complains to God that Eliezer of Damascus would inherit his entire estate, Eliezer may have been in the social position of "slave" to most outsiders...but was chief of the household staff.

Was Eliezer a servant, or a slave?

I would also wish to bring your attention to the teachings of the Apostles. The Apostle Paul wrote (in a culture in which almost all women were considered property, and slavery was normal) that "In Christ there is neither male nor female...slave nor free".

Paul gave some practical advice about slaves who converted to Christianity, and slaveowners who converted. See the comments by @WaStBlogger above, on chapter 5 of the letter to the church in Ephesus.

You also touched on something which seem non-slavery to the modern eye. Though the requirement was limited to fellow children of Israel, there was a requirement to free certain slaves after a period of years.

Should that system be described as slavery, or indentured servitude?

SJ said...

@Ann,

the culture which descended from the Sexual Revolution has lots of complaints about traditional Christian teaching.

It is true that sexual behavior isn't the only sin, or the most dominant sin, mentioned in the Bible.

Currently, normalization of homosexuality in the broader culture is accompanied by an attempt to rewrite the rules of Christian morality in the sexual sphere. I'm not the only one who notices this, and it looks like this re-writing is attempting to use noramlization-of-homosexuality as a gateway to normalization of anything-goes.

Per this comment:

It seems to me that Jesus stressed looking at your own sins and not those of other people. Anyone who isn't gay and who is making a big deal out of gay conduct is missing the Christian orientation.

You're right, but only partially.

When the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinthians about sexual immorality, he underlines that sexual behavior is linked to health of the spiritual life.

Paul also makes a distinction between dealing with sinners inside the Church, and dealing with sinners who not believers.
Jesus makes a similar distinction, and instructs his followers to teach each other to avoid sin. (See Matthew 18:15-19, and 1 Cor. 5:9-11)

Since this post is about a Methodist minister, I presume that his misdeeds are being punished in a way that is mostly compliant with the teachings of Christ.

Stephen Reynolds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SteveR said...

As I said above, UMC clergy will hang on for the retirement benefits. I've seen it more than once, although they won't admit it, everything about their actions, in conjunction with the type of ministry the various Districts have set up, make it obvious. Its not unlike people in public sector jobs, clicking down the years.

30yearProf said...

He knew the rules of his Denomination when he asked for the privilege of being ordained. I assume he promised to obey them.

Ordination, I'm sure, carries with it agreed limits on one's ability to speak "as a minister of that Denomination" just as Commissioning does for active duty military officers.

HE made a choice. It has consequences. He should stop whining and accept the rules and result HE agreed to.

zefal said...

I wonder if any NYT's reporters who find themselves in the same quandary because they have children who believe in an objective press?