I’ve commented once on Jonathan Stone’s my struggle with homosexuality. But some of the subsequent comments–and Tanya’s last one in particular–beg some response. It’s rather like the geotechical engineer and contractor Lazarus White’s reaction to certain technical papers on pile driving: after reading them, "the result was that my sleep was very much disturbed."
Let me start with this one:
I remember my youth pastor telling our youth group interracial dating was wrong. He gave us some scriptures and as we all know, had a good foundation traditionally. I was pretty disturbed because I’d just been reading scriptures that I thought said quite the opposite. When I asked him about them, he hemmed and hawed and was unable to resolve the differing perspectives in the texts. While today I know he would never come up with a sermon like that, it’s not because his scriptures have changed; instead his perspective has.
His idea about interracial dating is taken from the Old Testament, and reflects one of the long-running weaknesses of American Evangelicalism: the desire to create a synthetic Judaism rather than New Testament Christianity. The Jews were exhorted to avoid marrying outside of Judaism, the descendants of Abraham. But that reflects the basically different nature of the old covenant versus the new. The Jews were God’s chosen people by birth. Christians are by adoption. Put another way, the Jew’s blood line was human, and the Christian’s blood line is Jesus Christ’s own, which he shed on the cross. The results is as follows:
Never lie to one another. Get rid of your old self and its habits, And clothe yourselves with that new self, which, as it gains in knowledge, is being constantly renewed ‘in resemblance to him who made it.’ In that new life there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, freeman; but Christ is all!–and in all! (Colossians 3:9-11)
The actual New Testament counterpart to this is for Christians not to marry non-Christians. Tanya’s youth pastor should have focused on this; Christian churches have been highly remiss on that subject.
Let me turn to another comment:
Essentially we’re saying, ‘You can’t be in the club unless you have sex like we do; if you really want we can train to have our kind of sex. Otherwise, you don’t get to have any. Ever. At all.’
Other than reminding me of a speech I put in my first novel, what strikes me about this is that it overlooks the opposite possibility: that people would be forced to have sex, "pluriform" sex (to use a good TEC revisionist word) in order to belong. How this inversion happens is the result of the relationship of morality and community standards, something I discuss in The Trouble With Morality.
And, with pieces like that, perhaps I can disturb someone else’s sleep.
Update: well, not yet. But I continue to try to add to this discussion, which is, in reality, a life or death issue for Christianity.
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