Two questions, no make that four.
First. Do you like shellfish…such as shrimp and/or crab and or/lobster?
Second. Do you wear polyester?
Third. Are you homosexual?
Fourth. Have you been divorced…and remarried?
Two of the biblical “mandates” suggest, look it up in Leviticus on the first three and the Gospels on divorce and remarriage and adultery on the fourth, that to answer yes to all four means you are condemned. Nothing partial about it. Hope has left the room, never to return.
So, let me continue…certainly I’m included in three of the four of sins, hence a “condemned” man. As for homosexuality, believe for those who celebrate that identity, it’s a discovery and not a decision, let alone a sin. Okay, you can find biblical passages that disagree.
How do we deal with this? Because in my experiences, even this past week, none of this is academic. Not even close to disconnect.
The trigger for this is the rapid-fire condemnation of the Supreme Court in rejecting any state laws forbidding equality in marriage. Some have said a referendum should be passed in Congress to eliminate the Supreme Court Justices. [Yes, from Senator Cruz in Texas.] Others have said it is okay for local ministers to deny the place of the new Supreme Court Edict because of the biblical mandates against homosexuality. Which, not by the way but on point, Jesus never said anything about same.
It is interesting what changes people. I remember, some time ago, like decades, when the Mormons rescinded their “law” against drinking Pepsi because Joan Crawford gave the Mormons tons of money in her estate planning. She gave out of her Pepsi stock holdings. Oh my. And when in 1980 the evangelical conservatives never again mentioned that divorce was a sin and remarriage adultery. Why 1980? That’s when the President was Ronald Reagan and he, a divorced man. How could they condemn their poster child?
So. What matters? As a divorced and remarried man, as one who truly likes shrimp and will not cast aside polyester shirts, here’s my take. I’m not walking the human landscape to throw out the Bible. But. [Ah, the conjunctive “but” prefaces a truth…an abiding and enduring and endearing truth.] I believe what Jesus really offered and gave clear evidence in expressing same, IN EVERY INSTANCE, ASK THE QUESTION, HOW IS LOVE SERVED HERE?
Yes, this is named…this manner of living…SITUATION ETHICS. That DOESN’T mean to do whatever you want. Can use the word “never” here. It means to carefully look at each situation and answer the question of “love in the place and time?”
So. As a divorced man who remarried, as one who put shrimp on the grill last night, as one who doesn’t wear only cotton, I believe that God’s love for me isn’t qualified. It’s just that my love for God doesn’t always sprint. But when it’s a slow walk, at times barely a crawl, God doesn’t hunch God’s shoulders. Nope. For God is always with me and offers, “Live with love as well as you can. THAT’S what matters. I’ll give you a new day.”
Okay. That’s not a biblical quote…but it is written in my heart…it really is.
And I know. When the “love in life” decisions aren’t the best God will have more understanding than judgment and God will offer, “Keep living…it will work out. It really will.”
A postscript. Before I posted this blog I received an e-mail from a dear clergy colleague, Jim Hightower in Mississippi, who’s ordained pastor and clinical psychologist in New Orleans. He shared an editorial that echoes my blog…well actually my blog is echoed by this “take” on how Conservatives have reacted to the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. If you can, please read…thanks, Jim, you ARE so valued. For sure.