God Hearts Fags

I'm just back from dead-heading rhododendrons, which I am apparently allergic to. Now I'm going to sit for a few hours and transcribe a bit from notebooks to computer, listening to Michael Jackson/Cave Singers/Bjork/Richard Swift Pandora Radio. But first I'll write a little blog post for you.

I've noted that I'm going to be writing reflections on Theology Pub as we move along and last Thursday was the most recent one I've attended. This weekend was also Pride Weekend, as you may know, so I'm also reflecting on the process of helping put together a Pride Eucharist and marching in Seattle's Pride Parade. In the spirit of the week, and developing out of several typically divisive Facebook conversations about the gays I took part in over the week, our topic at Theology Pub was Scripture (or, "Who cares if the Bible Tells Me So?")

The party line, of course, is that the Bible is the Word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation. That's the affirmation I'll make when/if I'm ordained, and it's the Anglican statement of a basic and common Christian tenet. (Happily, Anglicans have a lot of latitude in defining salvation and "Word of God".) It is also a book that is frequently thrown at people who aren't looking and a book that is a common hangup for people looking for social progress - "but the Bible says..." It sometimes seems more trouble than it's worth, if you ask me. At T-pub our topic quickly moved from Scripture to fundamentalism, I'm guessing because fundamentalist treatments and usage of the Bible are so troubling and common and visible on Facebook. Makes it hard to read the Bible at all.

I'll admit that I'm a bit grumpy this afternoon (I think my blood sugar is dropping or something), but honestly, if nothing else highlights the problem of maintaining a faith in Scripture (any scripture), it is Pride Week. Once again, a book written thousands of years ago in a much different context becomes the justification for prejudices and bigotry, or at the least a significant hurdle that has to be cleared for Christians, if not society as a whole, to make progress on a theological issue that deeply affects about 3% of our population (or some number like that). Why do we use books and tradition like this?



KJ said…
I don't think that it's grumpiness at all, but the whole situation, at least for me, leads to a sense of futility. Reason is discounted, words are literal, interpretation sure -- Talk about idolatry!

Of course, the implication is that the Spirit of God is dead, or impotent as she is of no consequence when compared to one's sure interpretation of scripture.

Having grown up in the evangelical tradition, I am familiar with this approach to the faith, an approach that kept me closeted for 40 years. As the leading to be authentic grew, my literal faith kept me frozen; the requirement to abandon reason and pretend to believe what was not true to be true, led to despair.

I have no doubt that the path I was on would have led to attempts to take my own life. When that thought first crossed my mind, it was a defining moment. If what I was being told was true (i.e., who I was was unacceptable, so I should pretend to not be who I was) and if this is what God would require of me, why was it leading to despair and self-destruction? If this was of God, I would know hope and peace. Of that, I was certain.

So, I took a dive, trusting in what I knew about the nature of God, which, of course, is recorded in scripture (One of those "necessary" things.). But to experience that for myself as opposed to through the opinions of others, was to know faith as if for the first time, and yes, to know hope and peace, and an authenticity in spirituality that was, for lack of a better word, "organic."

Why anyone wold deprive another from such a life-giving faith is beyond me, unless those who would wish to control the faith experience of others know such a pale spiritual life, they feel that others should be having the same miserable experience. I would wish that on nobody.
KJ said…
This morning it occurs to me (Difficult to be coherent after a long day at work.) I should add that my sense of futility is regarding changing hearts and minds of whose who would exclude others from the table.

However, given my own experience, I am hopelessly optimistic about those still trapped in ecclesiastically constructed closets. For them, and those yet to come, I'd take a bullet.
Hey, Tim. Just a few questions that I'd like your perspective on. You mention here that the Anglican views on "Salvation" and the "Word of God" are fairly loose or open. Could you do a blog (or maybe you have) on the Anglimergent perspective? Also, how is Scripture used and understood for Anglimergents? Does it have any practical value for today? Or is it simply a part of the distant history of the Church? Thanks in advance for some thoughts. Take care! B.J.