Monday, August 13, 2007

The ELCA Shuffle

The ELCA is once again in convention which means it is once again time for the ELCA shuffle. While wanting to appear progressive but at the same time not do anything that would solidify a split they shuffle between their positions. In a remarkable decision they defeat a measure to allow active homosexuals to serve and at the same time pass a measure that prevents the defrocking of active homosexuals. Why do they do such double speak? For the same reason they continually delay the release of their study on homosexuality and the church. They are not blind.

While incredibly ignorant on matters such as biblical interpretation they are great at judging the cultural climate. They can see that American society is increasingly accepting of the homosexual life choice and they want to appeal to American society. At the same time, they can see what the homosexual issue has done to their bosom buddies the Episcopals (they are in Altar/Pulpit fellowship). The Episcopals are undergoing a ever growing split as conservative Anglicans leave their ever shrinking church body. The ELCA knows that is going to happen to them. It will likely happen on a larger scale, because the conservative portions are in larger numbers in their church body. With this in mind don't hold your breath waiting for a definitive statement, it probably will not come until they have chased out a sufficient number of conservatives.


Ted said...

Interesting that you say the ELCA is "ignorant on matters such as biblical interpretation" in reference to what the Bible says about homosexualty. In my studies of the Bible, I have come to the conclusion that it is conservative Christians who are the ignorant ones.

The Bibles we have today all say that homosexuality is a sin, but those versions (like the KJV, NRSV, NIV, etc.) have suffered from centuries of mistranslation, misinterpretation and manipulation.

Going back to the original Hebrew and Greek, you find that those passages say something much different than what we know today. Like the story of Sodam, which was supposedly destroyed before of homosexualtiy. But everywhere else in the Bible, Jesus and others make reference to the sins that destroyed Sodom actually being pride and inhospitality. And the residents of Sodom couldn't have all been homosexual. The Bible states that there were widows and children in Sodam and Lot's daughters were engaged to Sodom citizens. What really happened was that the people of Sodom wanted to either just interrogate them or rape the angels to show their power over them. It had nothing to do with homosexuality.

And Leviticus 18:22, most commonly thought of to condem homosexuality as an abomination, is way too vague in its original Hebrew. Many Bible translators seemed to add a word or two, in trying to make sense of it. It could be saying not to have male-male sex at all. Or it could just as easily be saying to either not have male-male ritual sex in pagan temples or even that the only time male-male sex is wrong is if done in the sacred bed of a woman.

And at no time does the Bible ever mention female-female sex. So is God okay with lesbians?

The problem is that we are placing our current ideas about sexuality on the people who lived 4000 or so years ago. Their ideas about sex were much much different than ours. So we need to be careful and study what the Bible actually says... not what translators tell us it says.

Dr. Luther in the 21st Century said...

Ted, I find it interesting that you base your arguments on "correct" reading of the Hebrew and Greek texts but provide no backing. But first, let me deal with Sodom. Sodom was to be destroyed because of their great wickedness, see Gen 18:20, the incident in chapter 19 is merely a picture of their depravity in part, not the whole picture. An illustration of how far they have fallen, so to speak. In addition, there is little doubt that the men intended to have sex with the angels because the Hebrew nedah is the same verb used in Genesis 4:1 to describe Adam having marital relations with Eve. It has been long known that yadah is a euphemism for sex.

Leviticus 18:22 does require tweaking in order to make a condemnation homosexuality, who ever told you this does not know Hebrew. va eth tzacar (and with a male) lo tishcab (do not lie down) miscavi ishah (in act of lying with woman) tov'ebah hevah (abomination is it)(I apologize for my transliteration never bothered to learn it because I could read Hebrew with out it). Though it speaks through idiom it is clear male-male sexual acts are an abomination. To claim it means only with male prostitutes is beyond a stretch when consider that it is part of a long list forbidden sexual practices that have nothing to do with pagan temple practices.

God is ok with Lesbians? Please don't make me laugh. Romans 1:26-27 within a clear context of same sex relations calls lesbianism as contrary to nature, in other words an abomination.

This could be the topic of another post but contrary to popular opinion, current views of sexuality in popular culture are no different than the views of 1st century Rome.