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Source: (consider it) Thread: Homosexuality and Christianity
Fish Fish
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
So why doesn’t he even once say “Now about homosexuals – My father delights in their sexual relationships.”

Because neither the word nor the concept as we understand it existed at the time.
Do you really believe that's what's going on?

Its such a patronising view of Jesus - Jesus who can see into the hearts and minds of those he speaks to. Who comes from God with teaching that was new, radical and shocking. The God who must have known many people were homosexual then as now. The God who, if he thought the culture was wrong to say is was sinful for two men to lie together, could so easily have told his Son to challenge that opinion.

Jesus does nothing of the sort. Lets not patronise the Son of God by saying he didn't understand people or their culture. Rather lets obey his teaching, which is that there are two states - heterosexually married and "eunuch" - sexually inactive.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
So why doesn’t he even once say “Now about homosexuals – My father delights in their sexual relationships.”

Because neither the word nor the concept as we understand it existed at the time.
Do you really believe that's what's going on?
Yup.

quote:
Its such a patronising view of Jesus -
And your reading things into His silence on issues isn't? [Eek!]

quote:
Jesus who can see into the hearts and minds of those he speaks to. Who comes from God with teaching that was new, radical and shocking. The God who must have known many people were homosexual then as now. The God who, if he thought the culture was wrong to say is was sinful for two men to lie together, could so easily have told his Son to challenge that opinion.
Like He did about the OT teachings supporting the institution of slavery - oops, erm - He didn't. Yet more argument from silence.

quote:
Jesus does nothing of the sort. Lets not patronise the Son of God by saying he didn't understand people or their culture. Rather lets obey his teaching, which is that there are two states - heterosexually married and "eunuch" - sexually inactive.
No, let's examine what His teaching, at the time, to people in their particular culture, would have meant.

And you are inserting the word "heterosexually" into that statement, aren't you? Jesus just said "married". Methinks thou art begging the question.

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Because neither the word nor the concept as we understand it existed at the time.

And your evidence for this claim is...?

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
And you are inserting the word "heterosexually" into that statement, aren't you? Jesus just said "married". Methinks thou art begging the question.

Karl, from historical data it is blindingly obvious what "married" meant to a first century Jew. The begging of the question here is entirely your own.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Father Gregory

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Any comments on the points I raised about science please? Why won't people engage with what contemporary science is telling us about human sexuality?

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
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Fish Fish
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
And you are inserting the word "heterosexually" into that statement, aren't you? Jesus just said "married". Methinks thou art begging the question.

But the whole point of quoting Matthew 19 is that Jesus does define marriage as heterosexual.

quote:
4 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'
5 and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?
6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Is that not clear enough for you?! And so how am I arguing from silence? He defines marriage as between a man and a woman. He says everyone is a eunuch. Its an all encompassing statement, that must logically mean all people who are not married - for what ever reason - for whatever sexuality. So I am NOT arguing from silence.

No one has yet seriously addressed the all inclusive nature of Jesus' statement.

[ 08. November 2004, 10:46: Message edited by: Fish Fish ]

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Any comments on the points I raised about science please? Why won't people engage with what contemporary science is telling us about human sexuality?

Fr. Gregory, what works of scientific reference would you recommend on this subject?

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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I posted the link about "Gay Rams" on the previous page not, of course, as an exhaustive treatment on the subject. I am not a scientist and although I try to keep abreast across the field I am not qualified to put together a bibliography. However, that article from New Scientist is not exceptional in recent years. The consensus seems to be that there is a highly complex interaction of genetics, hormonal balance 'in utero' and nurture factors. What IS clear is that homosexuals have no more control or choice over their sexuality than heterosexuals. Science has closed off the "orientation change" route. What we have left for theology proper is legitimacy or otherwise of mandatory lifelong celibacy for gay and lesbian Christians.

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Fr. Gregory
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Fish fish/Sheepdog.

Indeed. The people in the culture to which Jesus was speaking indeed could only conceive of marriage as specifically one womand and one man.

But the question that's left is how we, who can conceive of (even if we don't agree with) a marriage concept that involves two people of the same sex? That's what appears to be unaddressed by the passage in question.

Incidently, can either of you tell me why God is anti-gay, seeing as you believe He is? What has He got against two people of the same sex forming a lifelong partnership? The "that's not what He intended" argument smacks to me of a kids' party where the parent makes sandwiches and gets pissed off because some kid's allergic to gluten and eats a sandwich they brought along themselves.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Leetle Masha

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The issue seems to me to be how, in view of the scientific findings relating to "orientation", God's grace can still guide human conduct so as to help people keep vows of baptism, of marriage, of ordination, of anything involving a commitment to conduct either explicit or implicit in the vows themselves.

Will cognizance of scientific findings cause modification in sacramental vows?

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eleison me, tin amartolin: have mercy on me, the sinner

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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Dear Leetle Masha

No, not unless the vows / sacramental realities themselves change ... and of course God's grace is always sufficient to the task.

No, the question is whether or not the "task" has been conclusively established without any doubt whatsoever.

--------------------
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Fr. Gregory
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Leetle Masha

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Duh, well, somehow I thought that the vows at least partly defined the "task", or that the "task" demanded the "vows" in order to enable the action of the grace.

Please deal gently with a very stupid woman.

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eleison me, tin amartolin: have mercy on me, the sinner

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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The vows presuppose a theology. The task, based on the vows is, therefore, based on that theology ... in this case the sexuality and gender of the human person and the identities and relations arising from that.

So, you have to start somewhere ... so you start from theology ... but not naked theology ... theology informed by God's Truth (One Truth) in other disciplines. Theology cannot be pursued in isolation ... hence my post in Purgatory about the "The Handmaids of Theology."

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
The consensus seems to be that there is a highly complex interaction of genetics, hormonal balance 'in utero' and nurture factors. What IS clear is that homosexuals have no more control or choice over their sexuality than heterosexuals. Science has closed off the "orientation change" route.

Fr. Gregory, such wide-ranging, dogmatic and negative generalisations require far more support than vague references to "consensus" and "science".

I can recommend the Jones and Yarhouse book "Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate" as a readable introduction to the scientific data for the non-specialist . The extensive data they present and the conclusions they draw from it do not support your comments at all.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Fish Fish
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Fish fish/Sheepdog.

Indeed. The people in the culture to which Jesus was speaking indeed could only conceive of marriage as specifically one womand and one man.

No. The issue is not be what the culture could perceived, but what Jesus said. He clearly states marriage is between a man and a woman. Simple.

But, since you imply that the people of Jesus day had no knowledge or concept of gay relationships or sexual orientation, can you give any evidence to back that idea? Its been said here a number of times so as to excuse Jesus' ignorance. But where is the evidence this is true?

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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Dear FS

I quote from a sympathetic but critical review ...

quote:
They conclude that genetic variables, brain differences and psychological variables are all involved in causation and that while change of orientation is not impossible it seems to them that profound change of orientation occurs infrequently (pp. 181-2).
That's all that I am saying after all.

--------------------
Yours in Christ
Fr. Gregory
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Leetle Masha

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Fr. Gregory speaks of
quote:
(One Truth) in other disciplines.
That's exactly what I'm having the most trouble with. Is there one truth in those "other disciplines"?

In my unhappy experience, Father, truth in "other disciplines" is relative .

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eleison me, tin amartolin: have mercy on me, the sinner

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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Dear Leetle Masha

ALL truth is to some extent relative in that our confident statements in theology, science, the arts, all must fall silent before the mystery and majesty of God ... before the "seeing in part" that is this life. (I would prefer the word "agnostic" rather than relative, science being a very objective discipline). I do, however, maintain that there is only one Truth ... God's Truth and that this is not limited to or more trustworthy in the theological rather than other sectors. All forms of truth must be grounded in God because there is NO truth outside of Him. This was the approach of the philosopher St. Justin Martyr who did so much to open up the Greek world to the gospel in the Apostolic era. Only people like Tertullian, the gnostics and the followers of Mani consigned the world and all its works to the devil or spiritual ignorance. We live in a Christian culture where those attitudes are (innocently often) still around.

[ 08. November 2004, 13:25: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]

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Fr. Gregory
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phudfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
I posted the link about "Gay Rams" on the previous page not, of course, as an exhaustive treatment on the subject. I am not a scientist and although I try to keep abreast across the field I am not qualified to put together a bibliography. However, that article from New Scientist is not exceptional in recent years. The consensus seems to be that there is a highly complex interaction of genetics, hormonal balance 'in utero' and nurture factors. What IS clear is that homosexuals have no more control or choice over their sexuality than heterosexuals. Science has closed off the "orientation change" route. What we have left for theology proper is legitimacy or otherwise of mandatory lifelong celibacy for gay and lesbian Christians.

Like Father Gregory, I am convinced by the science, along with a lot of stories about the harrowing experiences many people have gone through trying to hide or suppress their sexuality. We are continuing to learn more about what shapes and defines our sexuality, but it has become quite clear that, for many people (if not all), sexual orientation is not a matter of choice.

Why, then, do we discriminate against those who are gay? What are our reasons, as a society, for doing so? Would it be right for us to only allow marriage to those who are fertile? Many couples, for whatever reason, are unable to have children. This is often due to reasons beyond their control. Should we deny them the chance to enjoy all the other joys of married life simply because they are unable to have children of their own? No, of course we shouldn't. Why, then, do we say that same-sex marriage should not be allowed?

The Bible gives us many guidelines for living, and in most instances, it is fairly easy to see the benefit that adherence to those guidelines would bring to society at large, without resulting in the oppression of an unfortunate minority.

I am a firm believer in the value of lifelong, committed, exclusive, monogomous relationships. The Bible teaches us that this is what is desirable, and I can see the benefits to both society and the individual. There are many other examples. Where I start to struggle is where the Bible teaches that a certain thing is so, for no other reason than, well, God says so. This is especially problematic when it results in the oppression of a certain group of people, or when one group gains at the expense of another group. This is particularly evidenced in certain verses that talk about the roles of women in church and about homosexuality.

My question is this: If the Bible does discriminate against gay people, if it does teach that homosexuality is wrong, how does this benefit society as a whole, along with the gay individual?

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"It's funny how, things work out, when you're lonely and your life is full of doubt"

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Leetle Masha

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Yes, Father, I would admit to all you say, unless we must agree that such "sciences" as psychology, sociology and political economics have to be included in the spectrum without reservations; it is in those particular sciences where truth is still apparently relative, in my opinion. Unfortunately IMHO it is also those sciences that seem to be having tremendous influence in occasioning the modification of sacramental theology.

I think we are on that well-known slippery slope, and since you are =the= Orthodox priest here, I'm relying on your anti-lock brakes.

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eleison me, tin amartolin: have mercy on me, the sinner

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Dear FS

I quote from a sympathetic but critical review ...

quote:
They conclude that genetic variables, brain differences and psychological variables are all involved in causation and that while change of orientation is not impossible it seems to them that profound change of orientation occurs infrequently (pp. 181-2).
That's all that I am saying after all.
Fr. Gregory, the first part of your reviewer's comment is a fair summary of their conclusions, but the second part needs to be read in its proper context, as follows on page 182:
quote:
Arguments about change can also be simply summarised: contemporary science, it is claimed, has shown that there are no effective therapies to produce change by which the homosexual can become heterosexual, and hence the church’s moral condemnation of those who act in a manner they cannot willingly change is wrong. Again, this “if-then” clause is wrong on both sides. The research actually shows a change effect of modest size, approximating for such vexing conditions as the three examples above – paedophilia, alcoholism and Antisocial Personality Disorder. Initial change may only occur for a minority, and relapses among those who change at all may be frequent, but that is not the same as same as saying that none can change. It appears to us that a profound change of orientation occurs infrequently.
The last comment reflects the cautious, restrained and sensible tone that pervades their book, but you can now see what builds up to it. It is a long way from agreeing with your earlier comment:
quote:
Science has closed off the "orientation change" route.
They conclude the paragraph from which I have quoted with a theological reflection:
quote:
The change minimally demanded by the gospel is not conversion to heterosexuality, but chastity in one's state of life. And that call, costly though it may be, stands as a possibility for any of us.
Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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Father Gregory

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Dear Neil

There is an unnecessary polarisation here. The rarity of orientation change does not violate my essential point that the issue is:- "CHASTITY OR NOT." (My personal contention is that the very rare cases of enduring orientation change seem to be amongst those whose sexuality is fluid ... and by fluid, I don't mean bisexual).

The ground for making that call (chastity) as a Christian and in Church teaching is the subject of the debate here.

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Fr. Gregory
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Leetle Masha

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Does the baptismal vow renouncing "the carnal desires of the flesh" (1662 prayerbook, "The Publick Baptism of Such as Are of Riper Years") speak to the requirement of chastity among single people, then, or should we modify the vow (and the corresponding Orthodox prayers for the grace to be chaste after baptism) in view of the "scientific findings"?

Mind you, it'll mean modifying the vows of Christian marriage, ordination, and I don't know what-all else.

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eleison me, tin amartolin: have mercy on me, the sinner

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Leetle Masha

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Feel free, apparently, to disregard my post on vows at baptism, marriage and ordination, etc. Apparently they are a Dead Horse too. Sorry!

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eleison me, tin amartolin: have mercy on me, the sinner

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Fish Fish
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quote:
Originally posted by phudfan:
My question is this: If the Bible does discriminate against gay people, if it does teach that homosexuality is wrong, how does this benefit society as a whole, along with the gay individual?

Setting aside the notiion that "homosexuality is wrong" (Homosexuality is not a sin - its the sexual activity outsied marriage which is the sin)...

Do we have to know the answer to that question in order for the morality to be accepted? Who are we to question God? As Paul said in Romans 9:20 "But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?"

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:

Do we have to know the answer to that question in order for the morality to be accepted?

Erm - yes, I rather think I do. There must be a reason, unless you're suggesting God makes up rules for the fun of it, just to trip some people up?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
Its such a patronising view of Jesus - Jesus who can see into the hearts and minds of those he speaks to. Who comes from God with teaching that was new, radical and shocking. The God who must have known many people were homosexual then as now. The God who, if he thought the culture was wrong to say is was sinful for two men to lie together, could so easily have told his Son to challenge that opinion.

No, it's an incarnational view of Jesus. It's believing that being human means being limited by one's gender, one's culture, one's upbringing. If Jesus knew then that people today were going to form stable, loving same-sex relationships, he wasn't human.

I'll look it up in the OED when I get home, Faithful Sheepdog, but as I recall the word "homosexual" didn't exist in English until the late 19th century, and there are not to my knowledge words for "homosexual" in Aramaic or koine Greek. I think they would have had a word for it if they'd had the concept.

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La Sal
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Originally posted by Fish Fish:

quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by phudfan:
My question is this: If the Bible does discriminate against gay people, if it does teach that homosexuality is wrong, how does this benefit society as a whole, along with the gay individual?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Do we have to know the answer to that question in order for the morality to be accepted? Who are we to question God?

I agree with Karl: LB, yes we need to know the answer to this question. Morality by its very definition must benefit society.

I can question God about this matter because I believe that he made me this way. The answer He gave me using my God given conscience is: "Live your life in wholeness, my child."

Wholeness: "By their fruits you shall know them."

[Angel]

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Fish Fish
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
No, it's an incarnational view of Jesus. It's believing that being human means being limited by one's gender, one's culture, one's upbringing. If Jesus knew then that people today were going to form stable, loving same-sex relationships, he wasn't human.

Jesus is fully human - but also fully God. He is able to prophecy the future, and speak about the present with the full authority of God. He is able to see into people's hearts and know thier inmost thoughts. He is sent from his Father to speak to the world. He is intimatley linked to his Father - who could easily commicate to him about the need for a different sexual morality. Yet God doesn't choose to challenge or educate people on their understanding of this issue. Not once. Not just Jesus, but the whole Bible. Not once does God say "Actually Guy's, you've got the law wrong - people of the same sex sleeping together isn't a sin - it delights me."

Your argument is staggeringly arrogant - to assume you know better than Jesus, and can tell him what to think.


quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
I'll look it up in the OED when I get home, Faithful Sheepdog, but as I recall the word "homosexual" didn't exist in English until the late 19th century, and there are not to my knowledge words for "homosexual" in Aramaic or koine Greek. I think they would have had a word for it if they'd had the concept.

Whether or not the word "homosexual" existed, the concept certainly did. How else are same sex relations discussed in the Bible?

quote:
Originally posted by La Sal:
I agree with Karl: LB, yes we need to know the answer to this question. Morality by its very definition must benefit society.

No - morality is what pleases a holy God. It may obviously benefit you and society, or the benefits may be in ways that you never know about. But if God says something is wrong, then he is God, and I for one will not be so arrognant as to say he's mistaken, didn't understand the culture, or was a wee bit forgetful.

[ 08. November 2004, 18:20: Message edited by: Fish Fish ]

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Lyda*Rose

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Fish Fish said:
quote:
Jesus is fully human - but also fully God. He is able to prophecy the future, and speak about the present with the full authority of God. He is able to see into people's hearts and know thier inmost thoughts. He is sent from his Father to speak to the world. He is intimatley linked to his Father - who could easily commicate to him about the need for a different sexual morality. Yet God doesn't choose to challenge or educate people on their understanding of this issue. Not once. Not just Jesus, but the whole Bible. Not once does God say "Actually Guy's, you've got the law wrong - people of the same sex sleeping together isn't a sin - it delights me."

Your argument is staggeringly arrogant - to assume you know better than Jesus, and can tell him what to think.


If so, I think your argument is staggeringly arrogant to interpret Christ's silence, presume to read his mind on the matter, and expect everyone to swallow it whole as if you were the fifth Evangelist.

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John Holding

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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
Jesus is fully human - but also fully God. He is able to prophecy the future, and speak about the present with the full authority of God. He is able to see into people's hearts and know thier inmost thoughts. He is sent from his Father to speak to the world. He is intimatley linked to his Father - who could easily commicate to him about the need for a different sexual morality. Yet God doesn't choose to challenge or educate people on their understanding of this issue. Not once. Not just Jesus, but the whole Bible. Not once does God say "Actually Guy's, you've got the law wrong - people of the same sex sleeping together isn't a sin - it delights me."

I have no trouble, myself, with your use of the presetn tense when talking about what Jesus says and does. However, if you are limiting what he says and does to what is recorded in the Bible, I suggest using the past tense.

What I believe he "does" today -- as he has done throughout history -- is talk to people not just in the pages of the bible but through inspiration. We generally call it the Holy Spirit.

And when the Spirit talks today, some people -- believing christians -- believe that we are being told to re-examine what the Bible records Jesus saying to his time and within that generation's frame of reference and consider how to apply it to our time and our generation's frame of reference -- and in fact, there are people who belive that Jesus is actually calling us to recognize that monogamous same-sex relationships are marriages. And I assure you, they are not using simply a set of words to lend weight to their arguments.

And your suggested position -- people of the same sex sleeping together isn't a sin, it delights me -- isn't quite accurate. After all, people of different sexes sleeping together is sometimes a sin.

Sleeping together in itself isn't the current issue -- it's whether, like a man and a woman sleeping together, there is one state -- marriage -- in which it is not sinful. (And I will leave for another day a discussion of what constitutes marriage for a man and a woman, since that is not agreed even among Christians.)

John

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Robert Armin

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FishFish, based on your line of argument here would I be right in presuming that you wish to reintroduce slavery? It seems to me that you would be on much stronger grounds here than in your line on homosexuality. After all:

a) There are MANY references to it in the OT (none suggesting it should be abolished)

b) It was clearly a well known concept in the First Century, with words and laws dealing with the phenomenon

c) Jesus never said a word against slavery, therefore (on your logic) he must have been in favour of it.

Surely, in light of all of the above, to oppose slavery would be breathtakingly arrogant and assuming that you know better than Jesus?

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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Dear Leetle Masha

I think I have already answered your question about vows elsewhere on the Ship. The vows are there and the grace is there. Would a priest in a Church that has monastics take any other position?

I am not questionning the propriety of vows ... people make them all the time. I suppose I am asking us to consider seriously what we are obliging certain people to do. Maybe I would have more confidence in addressing this issue if every single 16+ Orthodox person was told:- "no sex before marriage or else you're excommunicate." Even the Silver Ring Thing doesn't do that.

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Leetle Masha

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Fr. Gregory said,

quote:
I suppose I am asking us to consider seriously what we are obliging certain people to do.
Right. Well, since it's a dead horse, I think I will forbear to comment any more on the subject. Thank you for your post--I promise to work harder to understand your point of view.

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eleison me, tin amartolin: have mercy on me, the sinner

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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Sorry Leetle Masha .... pps ... I am not saying that we shouldn't ask people to do it ... I'm just against the dismissive glib way in which some straights who have wonderful sex lives can hand out the crosses for others at no personal cost to themselves; indeed they do it sometimes with both hatred and contempt whilst claiming to follow Jesus, (I am definitely not making a personal comment of anyone here of course, straightforward caveat ... no sarcasm).

[ 08. November 2004, 22:32: Message edited by: Father Gregory ]

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Leetle Masha

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Never mind all that, Fr. Gregory. No apologies are necessary. All you've done, you see, is to give the impression that there is such a thing as "liberal Orthodoxy", and at the moment I am having a very difficult time trying to figure out just what that is. I promise to try harder.

But this is not the place to explain it, and indeed you have no obligation to explain it.

Sorry to waste bandwidth.

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eleison me, tin amartolin: have mercy on me, the sinner

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Father Gregory

Orthodoxy
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Dear Leetle Masha

I hate the idea that there is a "liberal" Orthodoxy as strongly as I hate the idea that there is a "traditionalist" Orthodoxy (as per ROCA, etc.) Orthodoxy (like Catholicism) does not operate along these fault lines. One only has to look at the Tradition and both learn and unlearn (all of us) some misconceptions about that. I know I brought baggage with me into Orthodoxy ... largely based on escaping western liberalism. For a time I constructed a positive to that negative ... not realising that Orthodoxy is polychrome, not monochrome.

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Fr. Gregory
Find Your Way Around the Plot
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Leetle Masha

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Fr. Gregory, with respect, I think you have a valise or two still waiting for you at baggage claim.

I'm not in the ROCA either, but when a priest of the Orthodox Church calls himself a "liberal" in other areas, and then suggests that "we" should re-think some of the basic tenets of Orthodoxy in order to be "sensitive", I become extremely confused. Let us not carry this further, I beg you.

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Phos Hilaron
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:

Do we have to know the answer to that question in order for the morality to be accepted?

Erm - yes, I rather think I do. There must be a reason, unless you're suggesting God makes up rules for the fun of it, just to trip some people up?
Arn't we then setting ourselves up as the judge of what is right and what is wrong?

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by HangerQueen:
Arn't we then setting ourselves up as the judge of what is right and what is wrong?

Doesn't everybody?

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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phudfan
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# 4740

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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
quote:
Originally posted by La Sal:
I agree with Karl: LB, yes we need to know the answer to this question. Morality by its very definition must benefit society.

No - morality is what pleases a holy God. It may obviously benefit you and society, or the benefits may be in ways that you never know about. But if God says something is wrong, then he is God, and I for one will not be so arrognant as to say he's mistaken, didn't understand the culture, or was a wee bit forgetful.
And this is where you and I differ, FishFish, in a big way. I know I am not God, and I am painfully aware that my knowledge and intellect is incredibly limited. This doesn't stop me from being able to see that certain things are 'moral' or 'immoral'.
Keeping somebody as a slave, against there will, is immoral. I can think of no argument that would convince me otherwise. The Bible isn't clear on the issue, so I choose to believe that those who think that the Bible supports slavery have actually misinterpreted what it says. If they haven't, if the Bible does support slavery, and in turn, if the Bible is the inspired word of God, then God must support slavery, and God must actually be immoral. There is a possibility that this is true, but I choose not to believe this. Does this make me judge and jury? Yes it does. Does it make me arrogant? I don't believe it does. I believe it makes me somebody who is trying to do what Jesus said - to love God with all my heart and to treat others in the way that I would wish to be treated.

I am fortunate enough to be in a loving, committed relationship, that I hope and pray will be a lifelong one. I believe that if I were to deny this opportunity to somebody else, simply because their sexuality is different to mine (and remember, they had no choice in this), then I would be going against what Jesus said. I would not be treating others as I would wish to be treated. Ah, you say, "But what about loving God with all your heart? God says that sex outside a heterosexual marriage is sinful."
Well, I actually don't believe God does say that sex inside a homosexual 'marriage' is wrong. I believe that is a misinterpretation of what the Bible says.

I cannot simply go along with something because 'God says so', if I believe that thing to be 'immoral' (for want of a better term). To do that would mean that I couldn't love God with all my heart. I believe that it is better to compromise on doctrine than to compromise my love for God. This is, I believe, the crux of our difference. Maybe, in time, I will come to a position where age and experience teach me how to better deal with this tension.

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"It's funny how, things work out, when you're lonely and your life is full of doubt"

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Fish Fish
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda*Rose:
If so, I think your argument is staggeringly arrogant to interpret Christ's silence, presume to read his mind on the matter, and expect everyone to swallow it whole as if you were the fifth Evangelist.

Would you care to explain what Jesus is on about in Matthew 19 then? Because no one has offered a credible explanation of why Jesus says marriage is for a man and a woman, and anyone who cannot accept this must be a eunuch - sexually inactive, thereby ruliing out both gay marriage and gay sex in one passage. So I am NOT arguing from silence.


quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
And when the Spirit talks today, some people -- believing christians -- believe that we are being told to re-examine what the Bible records Jesus saying to his time and within that generation's frame of reference and consider how to apply it to our time and our generation's frame of reference -- and in fact, there are people who belive that Jesus is actually calling us to recognize that monogamous same-sex relationships are marriages. And I assure you, they are not using simply a set of words to lend weight to their arguments.

Of course. But where does one draw the line? I could argue that the Holy Spirit is telling me to ignore any part of the Bible. You'd have to back me up wouldn't you?

quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
And your suggested position -- people of the same sex sleeping together isn't a sin, it delights me -- isn't quite accurate. After all, people of different sexes sleeping together is sometimes a sin.

[Confused] When have I said that? [Confused]


quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
FishFish, based on your line of argument here would I be right in presuming that you wish to reintroduce slavery? It seems to me that you would be on much stronger grounds here than in your line on homosexuality. After all:

a) There are MANY references to it in the OT (none suggesting it should be abolished)

b) It was clearly a well known concept in the First Century, with words and laws dealing with the phenomenon

c) Jesus never said a word against slavery, therefore (on your logic) he must have been in favour of it.

Surely, in light of all of the above, to oppose slavery would be breathtakingly arrogant and assuming that you know better than Jesus?

[Big Grin]

Well, firstly I don't believe Jesus is silent on the homosexulality issue - and until someone can respond reasonably to Matthew 19 and explain why Jesus is so exlusive in his divisions, I'll become increasingly convinced of it.

Secondly, since Jesus said "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." It seems completely reasonable to take that as Jesus saying he's come to bring freedom to slaves.

And before anyone says "YES! And freedom to homosexuals" - let me agree. But he cannot mean freedom to have sex for he forbids that in Matthew 19.

So, can someone please explain Matthew 19 to me? Because so far everyone has just dodged round what Jesus says, and tried to excuse the poor man's cultural ignorance.

[ 09. November 2004, 08:26: Message edited by: Fish Fish ]

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Thought about changing my name - but it would be a shame to lose all the credibility and good will I have on the Ship...

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phudfan
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# 4740

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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
So, can someone please explain Matthew 19 to me? Because so far everyone has just dodged round what Jesus says, and tried to excuse the poor man's cultural ignorance.

Ok, this is MY take on what Jesus is saying in Mathew 19 - feel free to disagree, this is simply how I choose to interpret the passage.

I hear Jesus saying that God originally intended man and women to be one flesh, and that there are repercussions to deal with when this 'bond' is broken. I then hear him, not for the first time, talking about the spirit of the law taking precedence over the letter of the law. I then hear him saying that not everyone will be able to accept what he has said, but those that can, should. In the process, he uses an example (the eunuch), to demonstrate this.
I don't hear Jesus saying anything that would make sex inside a same sex marriage sinful.

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"It's funny how, things work out, when you're lonely and your life is full of doubt"

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Callan
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# 525

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Fish Fish - If Jesus had meant to say that 'same sex relationships are very wicked', I feel quite certain that he would have said something like "Verily I say unto you that same sex relationships are very wicked. Go therefore unto all nations casting out rectal demons in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". That sort of thing. It's a bit much suggesting that our Lord unequivocally condemns something when he completely fails to mention it.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

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Fish Fish
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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Fish Fish - If Jesus had meant to say that 'same sex relationships are very wicked', I feel quite certain that he would have said something like "Verily I say unto you that same sex relationships are very wicked. Go therefore unto all nations casting out rectal demons in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". That sort of thing. It's a bit much suggesting that our Lord unequivocally condemns something when he completely fails to mention it.

The trouble is with that argument is that it fails to recognise that Jesus doesn't speak into a vacuum. He speaks into a culture that has strong opinions and clear notions of what God thinks. Those notions Jesus disagress with he challneges, and those laws which are no longer relevent now he has come, he does away with (like food laws etc). So the people Jesus spoke to knew very well that God had already said "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." So God has already said ""Verily I say unto you that same sex relationships are very wicked." and Jesus doesn't challenge that.

To say Jesus is silent makes it sound like he could either agree or disagree. But that does not take into account how he treats what they do and do not already believe.

Add to this Matthew 19...

quote:
Originally posted by phudfan:
I hear Jesus saying that God originally intended man and women to be one flesh, and that there are repercussions to deal with when this 'bond' is broken. I then hear him, not for the first time, talking about the spirit of the law taking precedence over the letter of the law. I then hear him saying that not everyone will be able to accept what he has said, but those that can, should. In the process, he uses an example (the eunuch), to demonstrate this.
I don't hear Jesus saying anything that would make sex inside a same sex marriage sinful.

How about quoting some of Jesus' words from Matthew 19 to back up what you suggest he is saying. Because it seems to me that his words are in variance to what you are suggesting.

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Thought about changing my name - but it would be a shame to lose all the credibility and good will I have on the Ship...

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Pob
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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
And your suggested position -- people of the same sex sleeping together isn't a sin, it delights me -- isn't quite accurate. After all, people of different sexes sleeping together is sometimes a sin.

[Confused] When have I said that? [Confused]
Here, where you say:
quote:
So why doesn’t he even once say “Now about homosexuals – My father delights in their sexual relationships.”
and here, where you say:
quote:
Not once does God say "Actually Guy's, you've got the law wrong - people of the same sex sleeping together isn't a sin - it delights me."
This is the position you are setting up to knock down, and to which John Holding is saying, 'this is not, by and large, the position which those who argue against you are taking'. JH, please correct me if I'm misinterpreting you.

As to your use of Matthew 19: The pharisees were asking Jesus about divorce - trying to 'test' him, perhaps trick him. Jesus gave them an answer about divorce, which his own disciples found too difficult to accept. And then Jesus answered them, still on the subject of divorce. We can try to guess what he meant when he talked about renouncing marriage because of the kingdom of heaven, but building a theology - especially one that excludes others - on one possible interpretation of a few sentences that were given as an answer to a completely different question leaves you on very shaky ground. Especially since Jesus doesn't say, 'this is the word of God which must be obeyed by all,' but only "The one who can accept this should accept it."

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As the expensive swimming trunks, so my soul longs after you.

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Faithful Sheepdog
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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
Fish Fish - If Jesus had meant to say that 'same sex relationships are very wicked', I feel quite certain that he would have said something like "Verily I say unto you that same sex relationships are very wicked. Go therefore unto all nations casting out rectal demons in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". That sort of thing. It's a bit much suggesting that our Lord unequivocally condemns something when he completely fails to mention it.

Callan, there’s nothing like a superficial caricature to help one’s case, is there?

I suggest that you look closely at Mark 7:20-23 (ESV)
quote:
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Gagnon provides a comprehensive study of this passage looking at what words such as “sexual immorality” (porneia) and “sensuality” (aselgeia) meant to a first-century Jew. He adduces a great deal of supporting evidence from contemporary Jewish literature. Not surprisingly, these Greek terms also reappear frequently in St. Paul’s writings.

The word translated “sexual immorality” in Mark 7 is actually in the plural in Greek (porneiai), hence the KJV translation “fornications". In the plural it has the nuance of “various kinds of sexual immorality”. To a first century Jew porneiai in the plural was interpreted in the light of Leviticus and the OT generally. It definitely included a reference to homosexual acts.

So, it simply will not do to say that Jesus said nothing about homosexual behaviour. On this point you are quite simply incorrect. Read Gagnon’s book – then we can talk.

Neil

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"Random mutation/natural selection works great in folks’ imaginations, but it’s a bust in the real world." ~ Michael J. Behe

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phudfan
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# 4740

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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:
quote:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by phudfan:
I hear Jesus saying that God originally intended man and women to be one flesh, and that there are repercussions to deal with when this 'bond' is broken. I then hear him, not for the first time, talking about the spirit of the law taking precedence over the letter of the law. I then hear him saying that not everyone will be able to accept what he has said, but those that can, should. In the process, he uses an example (the eunuch), to demonstrate this.
I don't hear Jesus saying anything that would make sex inside a same sex marriage sinful.

How about quoting some of Jesus' words from Matthew 19 to back up what you suggest he is saying. Because it seems to me that his words are in variance to what you are suggesting.
Ok,

I hear Jesus saying that God originally intended man and women to be one flesh, and that there are repercussions to deal with when this 'bond' is broken.
quote:
3Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"
4"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'[1] 5and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'[2] ? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

I then hear him, not for the first time, talking about the spirit of the law taking precedence over the letter of the law.
quote:
7"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"
8Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

I then hear him saying that not everyone will be able to accept what he has said,
quote:
11Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word,
but those that can, should.
quote:
but only those to whom it has been given.
In the process, he uses an example (the eunuch), to demonstrate this.
quote:
12For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage[3] because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

I don't hear Jesus saying anything that would make sex inside a same sex marriage sinful.

Like I said before, this is MY interpretation of the passage. I don't expect you to agree, I am simply responding to your request. You said;
quote:
So, can someone please explain Matthew 19 to me? Because so far everyone has just dodged round what Jesus says, and tried to excuse the poor man's cultural ignorance.

I'm explaining how I see it. You don't have to agree. That doesn't make you right. It doesn't make me right either. It simply means we disagree.

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"It's funny how, things work out, when you're lonely and your life is full of doubt"

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John Holding

Coffee and Cognac
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quote:
Originally posted by Fish Fish:

quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
And when the Spirit talks today, some people -- believing christians -- believe that we are being told to re-examine what the Bible records Jesus saying to his time and within that generation's frame of reference and consider how to apply it to our time and our generation's frame of reference -- and in fact, there are people who belive that Jesus is actually calling us to recognize that monogamous same-sex relationships are marriages. And I assure you, they are not using simply a set of words to lend weight to their arguments.

Of course. But where does one draw the line? I could argue that the Holy Spirit is telling me to ignore any part of the Bible. You'd have to back me up wouldn't you?

quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
And your suggested position -- people of the same sex sleeping together isn't a sin, it delights me -- isn't quite accurate. After all, people of different sexes sleeping together is sometimes a sin.

[Confused] When have I said that? [Confused]


Well, "people of the same sex sleeping together isn't a sin, it delights me" was a direct quote from your previous post. It purported to be a description of the position of those who disagreed with you. And my point was that it was not an accurate description. If you don't remember writing it, I'm not filled with a lot of confidence in some of the other things you write.

AS for your first point, I happen to believe that from the church's position, the question of same-sex marriage is still moot. I believe those who believe God is calling the church to look at what the bible says in context rather than out of context at least deserve the hearing you seem unwilling to give them ("The bible says it, I believe it, that settles it", which seems to be your position, is not giving anybody a hearing). We are in a period of discernment, to see whether those who believe the Spirit is leading one way are right. That involves taking what they claim God is telling them seriously, praying about it and looking for other evidence to back up the claim of inspiration or not; as part of the issue is about how we interpret scripture in its proper context, proof-texting doesn't contribute to the process of discernment.

And, by the way, describing the position to be valued as "telling me to ignore any part of the bible", you have leapt over the process of discernment to a final conclusion. You have also ignored, or demonstrated that you cannot read with understanding, the fact that we are talking about how to interpret scripture, not about ignoring it. But then, I suppose you would claim you don't interpret scripture, you just take the plain meaning. But in that case, the rest of your post and its rather dicey re-interpretation of what scripture says about slavery is rather undercut.

As for Matthew 19, Jesus was making an argument about divorce, not about marriage. He was answering a specific, concrete question asked by specific people at a specific time, and doing so within the framework in which that question was asked. Looking at marriage as it then existed in that society, he cited the Torah to describe it. Of course.


He clearly wasn't talking about marriage as it existed anywhere else, or at any other time, otherwise he would have had to deal with the contradiction between his two citations from Genesis and the facts that the patriarchs had more than one wife and that polygamy (wives, not concubines) was recognized inside Israel for centuries, as well as being licit in contemporary surrounding societies -- not to mention being licit in all sorts of societies in North and South America and the Far East (because Jesus, being fully God must have known what was happening in societies unknown to mere humans at that time and place, and so must have been addressing that as well as talking to the people who were actually asking the questions he was answering).

And if you are looking for an eternal principle to draw from what he said, I would suggest it has to do with the permanence of marriage relationships, not with who or how many (looing at Israel's past) happen to be inside those relationships.

JOhn

Posts: 5929 | From: Ottawa, Canada | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
John Holding

Coffee and Cognac
# 158

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Thankyou, Pob. You are perfectly right about what I meant.

John

Posts: 5929 | From: Ottawa, Canada | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged



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