November 11, 2018, 6:00 AM

"Torn" Session 9: Chapters 13&14

Torn Chapter 13&14


            Lee feels “torn” in his understanding of biblical texts.  He sees that an argument can be made for each text that means it wouldn’t apply to a modern committed gay relationship.  However, he can’t dismiss that every mention of same-sex acts in scripture is negative.  He can see how both interpretations are possible.  Lee doesn’t find a satisfactory answer until he comes to the conclusion that perhaps he is asking the wrong question.  This is far from the only issue in scripture that we struggle with: “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything” (Titus 2:9), “Women should remain silent in the churches” (1 Corinthians 14:34).  Lee questions how we know which passages are limited by their cultures and which ones still apply.  He states, “If we simply disregard as “cultural” whichever passages we don’t agree with, the Bible becomes essential useless as a moral guide.  It’s only reaffirming our own views, not challenging us on what we may have gotten wrong” (p 194). 

Instead we have to have a clear, consistent biblical standard for interpreting the text.  (In the Lutheran church this is what we call allowing scripture to interpret scripture or understanding what is difficult through what is simple).  In help identifying this ethic, Lee quotes Paul, “…and whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:9-10).  Truly living out God’s agape love for others always led to doing the right thing.  The freedom we have in Christ means the legalists are wrong.  We don’t follow God’s law by always following the letter of the law.  We follow God’s law by following the spirit of the law, which means living in Christian love toward one another.  Jesus expresses this idea in the Gospel of Luke.  He is accused of breaking Sabbath by doing work.  Jesus turns the accusation around asking if a child fell into a well on the Sabbath would we not pull them out?  The answer being, of course we would, even though doing so obviously violates Sabbath keeping by doing work.  Helping the child is the loving thing to do.  In Chapter 13 Lee finally concludes, “If every commandment can be summed up in the rule to love one another, the either gay couples were the one exception to this rule, and Paul was wrong—or my church had made a big mistake” (p 206).

In Chapter 14 Lee continues this revelation with his opening line, “Grace.  We had missed the point of grace” (p 209).  We cannot fathom the overwhelming hugeness of God’s grace, and we, as people, have no business putting limitations on it.  Always, therefore, we as Christians should err on the side of grace.  And whether we are right or wrong in our interpretation of scripture, the truth is, we Christians are failing to show grace to the gay community in the way Jesus would.  Whether we agree with one another, our command as Christians is the same, “A new command I give to you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this will everyone know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John  13:34-35).


Question to consider:

How can we, as the church, better show Christian love and grace to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters? 

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