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Source: (consider it) Thread: Biblical interpretation of apparently anti-gay passages
Steve Langton
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by Gamaliel;
quote:
So, how does that apply to the URC minister I know whose soteriology and baptismal polity differs from yours and who is, and never has been, part of a state-church construct?
Without more detail of said "soteriology and baptismal polity", I can't really comment, can I? Most URC churches tend to practise infant baptism but regard it not as a magical "Makes you a Christian" thing but as an act of faith by parents, fully recognising the need of a grown-up act of faith and being 'born again'. I don't regard that position as ideal - but I don't have a major problem with it either and happily work with quite a number of people of such views. Some URC places these days don't do Paedobaptism anyway so are effectively Baptists/Anabaptists in practice.

Where is his 'soteriology' different and on what authority?

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Steve Langton
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by Croesos;
quote:
That was me, commenting on the difficulties involved in your proposed "right" style of hermeneutics in the absence of "the printing press and widespread literacy". I note you completely ignored the former in favor of a lot of hand-waving about the latter.

As I understand it, even without printing presses the early church had fairly good access to the Septuagint version of the OT, and clearly the Gospels and Epistles were copied and spread around from an early and were fairly available when the original apostolic eyewitnesses had died out. Scriptures were adequately available in the earlier context, until the RCC went restrictive and effectively banned vernacular Bibles for the laity. Even with printed Bibles available, early Anabaptists would probably have access roughly equivalent to, say, mid-2C Christians when the arguments over Marcion took place.

This is very much a tangent to my major point that a 'state church' involved redefining the Christian community in a manner which does NOT completely invalidate it as a Church, NOR make it completely incompetent as an interpreter of the Bible, but as I see it must cast doubt on such a Church's 'competency' to make the kind of authoritative interpretation binding on all Christians implied by concepts like 'Papal Infallibility', for example.

The NT position, BTW, is not "Don't be theocratic"; the NT position is to establish in the world a thoroughly theocratic 'holy nation' for God in the form of the church itself. By definition that church is international and it is important not to confuse it with any human geographical nation. And in turn, the church is obviously 'theocratic' but in NT terms does not seek to be coercive in the states where Christians live; and as church membership is voluntary, there are not meant to be bodies like the Inquisition enforcing things.

Not sure when I'll next be online; my dongle is having problems and as of now I'm not sure if the problem is my dongle or the wider network. I'll be online when I can to continue.

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Gamaliel
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The point I was making wasn't so much about how his soteriology and so on differs from yours - that would be a tangent - but that it differed - and was in fact more 'sacramental' in a Calvinist type of way, than yours. And that despite him being im a non-Constantinian group.

By the same token, I've come across sacramentalists in churches you'd regard as 'Constantinian' and those that aren't who share the same views on sacraments, baptismal regeneration and so on - whether they are Constantinian or not makes no difference whatsoever to their sacramentalism.

Some sacramentalists are Constantinian. Others aren't. The level of Constantinianism or otherwise has no bearing on their baptismal polity nor their belief in its efficacy.

Sure, I've met plenty of sacramentalist paedobaptists who are very squeamish about indiscriminate paedobaptism - but that's a separate issue and has nothing to do with how Constantinian or otherwise they are.

As for the mandate and authority the URC minister had for his beliefs - one might equally ask thee, me or anyone else the same question. His answer would be the same as anyone else's - his understanding of scripture and tradition and the parameters of the particular church or denomination to which he belonged.

FWIW he described himself as a liberal Calvinist with sacramental leanings and a smidgeon of Pentecostalism thrown into the mix.

Whatever he was, he would claim like the rest of us to have developed his understanding according to his interpretation of scripture and in the context of a particular interpretative framework - in his case a Reformed one - in your case an Anabaptist one.

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Barnabas62
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Have you noticed how we have managed to stray from the OP into yet more discussion of church-state-separation issues? Which so far as I can see have next to naff all say about the substance of the original topic.

The thread has been derailed, Shipmates. Back on topic please.

Barnabas62
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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by Croesos;
quote:
That was me, commenting on the difficulties involved in your proposed "right" style of hermeneutics in the absence of "the printing press and widespread literacy". I note you completely ignored the former in favor of a lot of hand-waving about the latter.

As I understand it, even without printing presses the early church had fairly good access to the Septuagint version of the OT, and clearly the Gospels and Epistles were copied and spread around from an early and were fairly available when the original apostolic eyewitnesses had died out. Scriptures were adequately available in the earlier context, until the RCC went restrictive and effectively banned vernacular Bibles for the laity. Even with printed Bibles available, early Anabaptists would probably have access roughly equivalent to, say, mid-2C Christians when the arguments over Marcion took place.
Just out of curiosity, what exactly is your "understanding" of this bit of history based on? As near as I can tell, it's a whole lot of wishful thinking that seems to go along the lines of "the only valid method of scriptural interpretation is the one that I (and my co-religionists) practice, so therefore anyone doing valid scriptural interpretation (like the earliest Christians) must have also had exactly the same means at their disposal I do".

It's true that the Septuagint existed at the time, predating Christianity as it does. And it's true that "the church" in a generalized sense had access to it, but that's a far cry from every congregation having their own copy on hand to consult. The same is true of later-composed, purely Christian scriptures. Your claim seems to be premised on the idea that the second century church was an enormously wealthy institution able to fund a large network of scriptoria* that could churn out huge quantities of written works "roughly equivalent to" that being produced about a century after the invention of movable type printing. I guess Gutenberg is one of the most over-rated inventors in history! Do you have any evidence for this, other than your desire for it to be so?


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*Latin for "writing place" (singular "scriptorium"). Posted for compliance.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Louise
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hosting
As Barnabas has pointed out there is a derail problem on this thread. Please take discussion of the availability of scripture in the early church to Kerygmania and start a new thread. Please do not continue it here.

Steve Langton - please don't answer Croesos here on that topic. You can copy his post and start a new thread in Kerygmania, if you want to answer it.

thanks,
Louise

hosting off

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Barnabas62
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I thought it was an interesting topic so I started this thread.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:


It's all moot anyway. Steve Chalke has written and done what he did (performed a SSB in a baptist context) and he's received no censure. The precedent has been set and the door is wide open - provided the local church agree that it is ok to do it, then practically and legally it can be done.

So from your point of view would you say that the practical problem lies mostly at the grass roots end rather than in the leadership? Are there too many conservatives among the Baptist laity?

Perhaps the time will come when the British Baptists are widely known to be as broad a church as the CofE - indeed broader, since CofE vicars can't legally conduct these ceremonies. The Baptist 'brand' will be retained for familiarity, but as with the CofE the uninitiated will have to ready themselves for anything upon entering the sanctuary!

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'd accept that a 'sacramentalist' in a non-state church has, or at least can have, a somewhat different view to one in a state church. But history rather suggests that when you baptise everybody indiscriminately you end up with a lot of nominal Christians who have little reality of personally facing their sins, repenting of them, and understanding they need a changed relationship to God. And they have little motive to go beyond outward and superficial conformity to the state requirement of, well, outward and superficial conformity!

This is true of the second generation in any church. The only way to prevent it would be to forbid the children to go to church or learn about the faith until they're adults.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Louise
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
I'd accept that a 'sacramentalist' in a non-state church has, or at least can have, a somewhat different view to one in a state church. But history rather suggests that when you baptise everybody indiscriminately you end up with a lot of nominal Christians who have little reality of personally facing their sins, repenting of them, and understanding they need a changed relationship to God. And they have little motive to go beyond outward and superficial conformity to the state requirement of, well, outward and superficial conformity!

This is true of the second generation in any church. The only way to prevent it would be to forbid the children to go to church or learn about the faith until they're adults.
hosting

We're trying to get a thread which has been comprehensively derailed back on track. While we're normally quite tolerant of the odd tangent, we're not taking them at the moment on this particular thread, so I'd like to ask people to only post if they are posting something relevant to the OP or at least directly relevant to the church and LGBT issues.

Issues about nominal Christians/ conformity can be discussed in Purgatory. Issues about state/non state churches are right out on this thread, and must be discussed in Purgatory.
thanks!
Louise
DH Host


hosting off

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mousethief

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Mea culpa.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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hatless

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I want to think a bit further about the idea of proxy discussions.

It's something I suggested earlier: we may appear to be discussing the interpretation of a biblical passage, but we're really talking about the underlying issue. I may express an opinion that relates to the word used by Paul or his rhetorical style, but I'm just seizing on this because it suits me. What is really happening is that I'm pro-gay (or anti) and I'm trying to argue for this.

I like it when I can do this by means of Bible study because I don't have to declare my hand. I can make my case without my personal opinion appearing, and I have the authority of the Bible on my side as well. I don't have to tell someone 'I don't agree with you, I don't like what you say,' I can say 'I'm sorry, but I don't think that's what the text says.' Much more comfortable. And cowardly.

Eliab says that when we read scripture we really need to begin with what God is like. We inevitably and rightly interpret our texts in the light of what we believe about God. If God is love and the text says something different, then we must spot the hyperbole, or find the reason why, viewed from the other end, this is still loving.

It's difficult to baldly disagree about some issues. How does that go with gay sex? I think it's wrong because .. well, because I just do. I don't like it. Or I think it's OK and I just don't like it when you say the opposite. If we have to drop our discussion of 1st Century rabbinical debating tactics, or sketchy theories about possible epigenetic effects, we just have to stand there and own our own opinions as they hang awkwardly between us.

Eliab's point is that we are really disagreeing about the nature of God. And that is even more scary, because it's about big questions, imperatives and absolutes.

In relation to gay sex it's about sin and holiness, what they are, about whether inclusion matters all that much, about whether what I and lots of other people used to think could possibly be overturned - are there revolutions where God is concerned, or does God change not?

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Eliab
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
Eliab's point is that we are really disagreeing about the nature of God. And that is even more scary, because it's about big questions, imperatives and absolutes.

In relation to gay sex it's about sin and holiness, what they are, about whether inclusion matters all that much, about whether what I and lots of other people used to think could possibly be overturned - are there revolutions where God is concerned, or does God change not?

Yes, that's exactly it (and put better than I put it). This is about views of God.

I don't think that God changes. So that means that if the Bible is God's word, it must always have been possible to read Romans 1 (for example) morally. If God is not anti-gay now, He never was, and therefore the anti-gay reading of Romans 1 was never inspired by him.

But that means, of course, that I come to the Bible with a very definite view that some things are simply out of consideration as unworthy of God. My obedience to scripture isn't unconditional.

I think we all do this to some extent. The reading in my church yesterday exhorted slave-owners to treat their slaves "justly and fairly". To me, that makes as much sense as tell rapists to treat their victims "justly and fairly". So I ignore the endorsement of slavery as unworthy, and take as the inspired part the message that we have moral duties to people even when society would condone the very worst exploitation. I imagine that everyone these days reads those passages similarly. No one is particularly troubled about whether the Bible is really OK with slavery, because we're sure that God really isn't.

For quite a long time I read the anti-gay passages as mysterious - not knowing whether God was really against homosexuality or not. I couldn't see what was so bad about being gay, but I was unconvinced by any revisionist interpretation. I was grateful that the activities that appeared to be condemned weren't ones that I was tempted towards, and therefore pleased that I could leave it to gay Christians to work out what they should do.

I'm not as comfortable with that any more. The whole gay marriage debate happened - on the Ship and in wider society, and showed me two things: one, not only could I see no good reason why homosexuality is immoral, neither could anyone else; and two, the anti-gay movement was able to recruit thousands of otherwise kind, sane, reasonable Christians to a campaign of astonishing pettiness and spite. For no other reason than what St Paul once wrote to a church in Rome as a bit of a tangent to his main argument about universal fallenness.

I don't trust the Church to handle this scripture with the caution that is appropriate for a command whose reasons are not fully understood. It isn't safe to give us a scripture that it is even possible to read as anti-gay - because we'll hurt people with it. So I want to be able to say that I trying to be a committed follower of Jesus, trying to learn about God from the Bible, and from that perspective argue that I think the anti-gay side is absolutely and undoubtedly wrong. There are no good reasons to be anti-gay, AND that the Bible doesn't add one. The only way I can do that is to say that an interpretation of the Bible which teaches evil is always out of consideration. Whatever the plain meaning, whatever the (human) author's intention, I simply will not accept that reading, and think that anyone doing so is sinning.

So I clearly don't get my ethics from the Bible, and I'm arguing that it's not merely acceptable but obligatory to ignore what looks like the plain meaning of scripture if that meaning is morally wrong. The difficulty I have is that recognising that I am now saying this, and want to continue to read the Bible in this way it, can I really claim to be a "Bible-believing Christian" any more?

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Richard Dawkins

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JimT

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I'd like to contribute a couple of things to this discussion.

The first is, that my perspective is that of a preacher's kid who never bought the Christianity I was presented. What I eventually bought was the radical reforms of Christian-based Unitarianism of the early 1800's. I tried modern Unitarianism and found it an unsatisfying hodgepodge of belief systems to which I could not relate except for those that were rooted in Christianity.

I think that I approach things much the same way that hatless does, and I know that he knows that. [Smile] Christianity is where I come from, but some kind of "Humanism" is where I've gone, and I like to make connections back and forth with others who do the same.

The recent discussions on The Ship have prompted me to venture into the mind of Paul and his writings on the proper place and role of sexual relations. For the first time, it occurred to me that the Romans 1 and 2 chapters could reflect an assumption that homosexuality always takes place as a form of adultery in an otherwise heterosexual person. Perhaps, in an ancient world that punished homosexuality with death, homosexuals voluntarily lived as heterosexuals and when "outed" would plead for mercy that it was an isolated incident triggered by an excess of natural desire that would never be repeated. They might have even believed it themselves. Perhaps Paul ranted in Romans that in the old days, people became so perverted that they left their natural heterosexual behavior behind and willfully abandoned themselves to unbridled, unchecked lust that went so far as to have sex with their own sex, a disgusting and obvious perversity to any chaste heterosexual.

Part of my considering this possibility comes from reading Corinthians 7 again, and seeing Paul portray natural sex not as a means to procreation, but a "burning" that tempts one away from pleasing God. Interestingly, he describes it not as a "burning" to satisfy oneself, but to satisfy someone else, thus laying the foundation for it not being a sin, despite the fact that he said it is better to be avoided altogether. Having defended it's having a permissible side, he circumscribes its permissible boundaries as satisfying one and only one other person, bound in marriage, with vows made before God that they will not stray into pleasing more people, lest they both stray from God.

I wonder if Paul would have seen things differently if he had the perspective many of us have, that homosexuality is not a craven form of adultery, but an alternate form of chastity.

As a postscript, I would add that I found it surprising that these "anti-gay" passages I mentioned said nothing about sexual desire having a primary purpose of procreation. He says it is a dangerous temptation that must be tightly controlled and limited; avoided if possible. That means Paul said it is better not to have children, unless you just can't stand the burning to please someone else sexually. No doubt he didn't worry about the human race dying out because he thought the world would end soon. And there he was just plain wrong.

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Golden Key
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...which may raise questions of what Paul's own experiences were. Did he have a family that fell apart? Did he have trouble with his own desires, whatever they were? Did someone hurt him? Did he just swear off the whole thing, and drag that baggage into his writing?

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by JimT:
For the first time, it occurred to me that the Romans 1 and 2 chapters could reflect an assumption that homosexuality always takes place as a form of adultery in an otherwise heterosexual person.

I've heard it said on several occasions that the few occasions when early Fathers condemned homosexuality it was almost always on the basis of it being a form of adultery. But, my knowledge of the early Fathers is woefully inadequate to judge the veracity of that statement.

However, if it was normal, indeed expected, for men to marry (women) and have children to continue the family line then if they were having homosexual relationships that would, by definition, be adultery. Though, whether the sin is the adultery or the social structures that forced men to marry women even though they weren't interested in women is another question.

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hatless

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As I understand it, in ancient Middle Eastern society (and this may be typical of other times and places) marriage was a key part of social order, embedded in the way property was owned, social status, employment, power relations, and of course, gender roles and sexual relations. This is patriarchy.

In which case this point about adultery is interesting. Adultery is not cheating, or wasn't back then. We see adultery as the betrayal of trust, and wrong because of the emotional pain inflicted on partner and children by the cheating person who couldn't exercise self-control, or fell out and into love.

Adultery, though, means mixing or diluting. It's about polluting the blood line, and the multiplying of claims on property. The crime is not upsetting the feelings of your partner, it is undermining the inheritance of your sons and the genetic legacy of your (husband's) father and his father.

Same sex actions or relationships wouldn't count. They couldn't affect offspring or property so they would be an irrelevance, just a diversion indulged by a few people with minority tastes, or as part of the activities of some of the wackier religions. A wife or son should continue to feel perfectly secure if the old man acts like this.

But Paul, as JimT notes, has a very different view of marriage. It's not quite romantic, but it's full of a sense of the importance of intimacy and if not equality in a contemporary sense, then a deep commitment to a balanced inter-relatedness. Wife and husband are expected to be bound up in each other in trust and sensitivity. God in Christ is the primary relationship for us all, so if marriage could get out of the picture that would be helpful, but if it can't, then it needs to be a marriage transfigured, like all power and property relationships, by the new way of being human in Christ. It's part of the new identity we get in Christ. Identity is such a big deal for Paul.

For a man in a patriarchal society to engage in anal intercourse with a male or female slave at a temple or brothel is an irrelevance in terms of his marriage or dynasty. For the restructured relationships of those who are in Christ it would be a disaster, but for reasons that Paul, writing to a church that has never head him speak before, is unable to explain. It's interesting, though, that in the verses following and summing up the implications of the lurid Romans 1&2 passage on depravity, Paul talks about conscience, hard hearts and softened hearts, the self seeking and those who patiently do good. It's about our openness to God's kindness and forbearance.

Paul has a revolutionary gospel that remains challenging for us. I don't follow all his thought processes, and there's always the possibility that the text is corrupted in some way (does Romans 1:18 follow naturally from 1:17?). I am sure that, as always, he will care most about the breaking down of barriers, our unity and our building up, and those quiet virtues like gentleness, patience and self control. The lurid passage is in some way about how we respond, Jew and Gentile, to the God who meets us in a new way in Jesus Christ. It is about a new creation and is not, is explicitly not, an argument for holding some people as 'other', as sinners in ways that we are not.

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My crazy theology in novel form

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
[We] may raise questions of what Paul's own experiences were. Did he have a family that fell apart? Did he have trouble with his own desires, whatever they were? Did someone hurt him? Did he just swear off the whole thing, and drag that baggage into his writing?

I think I read somewhere that the 'thorn in his side' might have been his own homosexuality. Who knows? In any case, he was presumably a celibate man at the point of writing. In our culture I suppose that makes him a somewhat unnatural, unfortunate character.

I don't know how his celibacy would have been viewed in his own time, but he does acknowledge that not everyone would be able to live as he did, which is fair enough. But I do think it's sad that many Christians of all types seem to view celibacy as more or less impossible and/or undesirable.

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Gamaliel
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Well, celibacy is still valued in some traditions - most notably in those with a tradition of monasticism or celibate clergy.

It may be questioned nut it's still practised.y

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SvitlanaV2
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Practised, yes, by a declining number. But the RCs don't seem to value it all that much. I don't know about the other churches you have in mind.

If heterosexual Christians place a low value on celibacy then it's hardly surprising if homosexual ones feel the same way.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:

But Paul, as JimT notes, has a very different view of marriage. It's not quite romantic, but it's full of a sense of the importance of intimacy

Keep your genitals to yourself, unless you cannot control the urge is intimate?

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Well, celibacy is still valued in some traditions - most notably in those with a tradition of monasticism or celibate clergy.

The only traditions which truly valued celibacy are no longer extant. This is one reason that celibacy, in those traditions that contain it, is reserved for a few rather than the main body.

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If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by JimT:
For the first time, it occurred to me that the Romans 1 and 2 chapters could reflect an assumption that homosexuality always takes place as a form of adultery in an otherwise heterosexual person. Perhaps, in an ancient world that punished homosexuality with death, homosexuals voluntarily lived as heterosexuals and when "outed" would plead for mercy that it was an isolated incident triggered by an excess of natural desire that would never be repeated. They might have even believed it themselves.

Gay sex would indeed be adulterous, but not for the reason you say. Graeco-Roman literature has plenty of celebrations of homosexual sex. Punishable by death was true at the time of Leviticus, but not at the time of St Paul. However I understand it was something you were supposed to give up when you got married. (There is a bit in Catullus' wedding-hymn where the groom's male concubine is mocked because he will now have to give way to the bride.)

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Gamaliel
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Yes, Ricardus, and with the Greeks unmarried men were almost 'expected' to have sex with teenage boys but to desist from the practice when they got married - usually around the age of 30.

Apparently - too much information alert - penetrative sex appears to have been rare and the older men seem to have generally rubbed themselves between the boys' thighs ...

There was a stigma in Ancient Greek society about being on the receiving end of homosexual sexual activity - but no stigma attached to actually doing it as it were to someone else ...

Whatever was going on it doesn't necessarily equate to how same-sex sexual practices are understood or practiced today.

I'm not sure what all that tells us, though ...

Meanwhile, @SvitlanaV2 and lilBuddha - I can see what you're both getting at but one could argue that the comparative rarity of celibacy within the Roman Catholic community and other faith communities which incorporate forms of monasticism is an indication of how much it is valued ...

After all, the rarer something is, the more it tends to attract value.

The whole point of valuing celibacy, I'd have thought, includes a consideration of its comparative rarity.

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JimT

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The last several posts are interesting, informative, and intriguing. The discussion started by hatless about "adulterating" bloodlines, and homosexuality not capable of doing so brought me interesting information, including the "normalcy" in at least some Greco-Roman settings, of premarital homosexuality only, and the permissibility of postmarital homosexuality and apparently heterosexuality so long as it was confined to temple prostitutes.

But this last point brings up the question of "adulterated" bloodlines in the offspring of female temple prostitutes. There must have been children; what was their fate? Perhaps they were forced to be prostitutes themselves, and that's how it kept going?

Relative to hatless remarking that Paul seemed to view a need for intimacy in marriage, I assumbed that hatless was referring to the passage that says husbands and wives want to please each other, and that is part of why it is a good thing and not a sin. At the same time, his overall message that it should be avoided if at all possible does sound like a rejection of the idea that everyone ought to have intimacy with another as part of a full life.

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Brenda Clough
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If there was a need for them, and if resources allowed, the offspring of temple prostitution were kept and reared. Boys can become priests or eunuchs, and girls priestesses/prostitutes. They could also be sold off as slaves, if the temple needed cash.
If there was no need or resources at the moment of birth? Well, witnesses complained of how many bodies of newborns cluttered the streets. "Exposed" was the term, but essentially it meant dumping the baby out on the trash heap.

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Penny S
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There are two Roman sites with associations with Venus which have been excavated in what is now England where numbers of newborns have been found buried. Vagniaceae near Gravesend (13, in a bank by the bread ovens) and a villa in Hambleden, Buckinghamshire, near a military camp (97). I find the Venus association is not given for that one.
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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
One could argue that the comparative rarity of celibacy within the Roman Catholic community and other faith communities which incorporate forms of monasticism is an indication of how much it is valued ...

After all, the rarer something is, the more it tends to attract value.

The whole point of valuing celibacy, I'd have thought, includes a consideration of its comparative rarity.

This argument might convince the RCC leadership that the huge decline in priests and religious is a good thing. But then again, it might not. Your contacts in the RCC would have more to say about that than I can.

As for the laity, I once read somewhere that although churches rely heavily on the work of single female members, single women are in fact the least valued demographic in the church (i.e. not specially valued because of their presumed celibacy). This is probably because there is a surplus of single women in the church. And perhaps because there's a surplus of women in general.

John Wesley wondered where a chaste male could be found, so I suppose he valued them when he occasionally came across them. But he implies that the culture as a whole didn't (since even 'the reputation of it' was undesirable. Maybe even among Christians?).

Religious communities pay a lot of lip service to behaviours or values that many of their adherents believe to be undesirable or unworkable. It's a strange thing.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
If there was a need for them, and if resources allowed, the offspring of temple prostitution were kept and reared. Boys can become priests or eunuchs, and girls priestesses/prostitutes. They could also be sold off as slaves, if the temple needed cash.

Although I understand there is a certain amount of academic disagreement as to whether temple prostitution was widespread, or indeed whether it existed at all.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Gamaliel
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Well, religion is a strange thing in general, SvitlanaV2 ...

I don't have any more access to RCC commentators than you do or anyone else here on these Boards. I have friends at the local RCC parish and hob-nob/run into RC priests perhaps once or twice a year.

From what I can gather, some of the laity believe that clerical celibacy is indeed something that needs to be revised and which is partly to blame for the decline in vocations to the priesthood.

The religious orders are regarded somewhat differently, from what I can gather, and yes, there are seen as issues around declining vocations there too - but unlike the priesthood, which hasn't always been a celibate vocation within the Western Catholic tradition, the monastic vocation can't be anything but a call to celibacy ...

The clue is in the title - Mon (mono) - astic.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Rome does a U-turn on clerical celibacy at some point. After all, it makes special provision for married Anglican priests to join ... under particular conditions.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Unlike the priesthood, which hasn't always been a celibate vocation within the Western Catholic tradition, the monastic vocation can't be anything but a call to celibacy ...

The clue is in the title - Mon (mono) - astic.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Rome does a U-turn on clerical celibacy at some point. After all, it makes special provision for married Anglican priests to join ... under particular conditions.

One wonders why they've stuck with a celibate priesthood for so long if it's not terribly important to them. Strange indeed!

I suppose if they allow priests to marry then they'll eventually have to allow them to divorce, and then to remarry, as is customary for the clergy of many other denominations. Otherwise, the inconvenience of celibacy would still await a considerable percentage of them at some point in their adult lives. That would defeat the whole object, really.

The sexual and marital standards of the RC laity and clergy might merge over time, and the fate of the RCC might be to grow more like most of the other churches.

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Garasu
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On the other hand: given that monastic refers to living alone, why does it in practice involve living in community?

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"Could I believe in the doctrine without believing in the deity?". - Modesitt, L. E., Jr., 1943- Imager.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Garasu:
On the other hand: given that monastic refers to living alone, why does it in practice involve living in community?

Are you confusing etymology with meaning?

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Garasu
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I don't think I am...

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"Could I believe in the doctrine without believing in the deity?". - Modesitt, L. E., Jr., 1943- Imager.

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mousethief

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Definition of monastic:

• of or relating to monks, nuns, or others living under religious vows, or the buildings in which they live.
"a monastic order"
synonyms: cloistered, cloistral, claustral
"a monastic community"
• resembling or suggestive of monks or their way of life, especially in being austere, solitary, or celibate.
"a monastic student bedroom"
synonyms: austere, ascetic, simple, solitary, monkish, celibate, quiet, cloistered, sequestered, secluded, reclusive, hermitlike, hermitic, incommunicado
"a monastic existence"

noun
noun: monastic; plural noun: monastics

1.
a monk or other follower of a monastic rule.

Origin
late Middle English (in the sense ‘anchoritic’): from late Latin monasticus, from Greek monastikos, from monazein ‘live alone.’
Translate monastic to
Use over time for: monastic

==============================================
Nothing about living alone in the definition; only in the etymology.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Garasu
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Are you saying that to me or to Gamaliel?

It being Gamaliel who said that monks had to be celibate because of the etymology.

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"Could I believe in the doctrine without believing in the deity?". - Modesitt, L. E., Jr., 1943- Imager.

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balaam

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Then he was forgetting the Celtic monasteries where some were mixed in gender and had married monks and nuns, such as Whitby.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Garasu:
Are you saying that to me or to Gamaliel?

It being Gamaliel who said that monks had to be celibate because of the etymology.

Well, he said the name was a "clue." But I take your point.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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TomM
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quote:
Originally posted by balaam:
Then he was forgetting the Celtic monasteries where some were mixed in gender and had married monks and nuns, such as Whitby.

Do you have a source on that? I mean, I know Whitby was a joint house, under the rule of a single abbot/abbess (most famously Hilda). But being married (and I mean other than exceptional cases were it served as an equivalent of divorce)?
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Baptist Trainfan
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/Tangent/
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Some URC places these days don't do Paedobaptism anyway so are effectively Baptists/Anabaptists in practice.

The URC is made up of three former denominations: Congregational, Presbyterian and Churches of Christ. The latter have always been Believer's Baptism churches. But I think a URC minister in a church with a Cong. or Pres. background who refused to baptise children might get into trouble.

I am a Baptist in a joint Baptist/URC church so it's not a problem for me. In fact we did a child baptised recently, I took part in the service but didn't perform the baptism itself. One or two Baptist ministers in a similar situation would have.
/Tangent ends/

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Gamaliel
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As far as I understand it, there were mixed monasteries in 'Dark Age' Britain, but I'm not sure the monks and nuns cohabited. The Orthodox monastery at Tolleshunt Knights is a mixed community but the monks and nuns live separately.

I also understand that there is a tradirion within Orthodoxy where married couples choose to forgo sex in order to pursue a deeper spiritual life. I'm not sure how common it was but it was known in 19th century Russia.

As for celibate clergy in the RCC. I didn't say it wasn't important to RCs, simply that married clergy were common in the Western Church until the 12th century - so there'd be a precedent for Rome to reverse its current policy should it so wish. I certainly know RCs who see no theological objection.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

As for celibate clergy in the RCC. I didn't say it wasn't important to RCs, simply that married clergy were common in the Western Church until the 12th century - so there'd be a precedent for Rome to reverse its current policy should it so wish. I certainly know RCs who see no theological objection.

There are RCs who see no objection to all sorts of things! Well, they may get their way.

I can't help thinking, though, that changing the rules on these issues might unleash a new set of problems for the RCC rather than just clearing up a few old ones.

[ 17. October 2015, 00:12: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Louise
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hosting
Does anyone want to discuss the OP or shall I just close this thread?

thanks,
L
DH Host
hosting off

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Eliab:
C) The Bible can still be inspired even if the surface meaning is obviously wrong. Even if I grant that the true meaning of the text is what it appears to be, I'm free to disagree with it, and look for the divine inspiration of scripture in such nuances of meaning that tend to mitigate or subvert the author's wrong intentions.

Resurrecting this thread in the wake of this and also this which I came across earlier today, having got to Zelophehad's daughters in my current preaching series.

Croesos cites this incident as
quote:
a "meta" example of scriptural interpretation [...] contained in Numbers, one of the five books of Moses which are traditionally considered to be the oldest parts of the Bible. So what's being portrayed is a debate over scriptural interpretation that took place before there's even 'scripture'.
What I like about this is that it offers scriptural legitimacy (nay, OT - nay, Pentateuch legitimacy) for reinterpretation - here, in the face of a blatant injustice for which no provision was originally made.

I haven't read anything by him, but it would seem this is somewhat similar to the thinking of French protestant philosopher Paul Ricoeur and his 'Interpretation Theory'.

All of which is to say that my current way out of Eliab's dilemma is along the lines of C). Interpretation is just as important a medium of divine inspiration as the Scriptures themselves, and always has been.

[ 20. February 2016, 12:33: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
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Gamaliel
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Well, yes ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Steve Langton
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This thread was too far gone to re-open. Not interested. Sorry....
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luvanddaisies

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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
This thread was too far gone to re-open. Not interested. Sorry....

How about this one then. It's long, but you'll find a lot of good content, and it pretty much stays on topic.

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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." (Mark Twain)

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
This thread was too far gone to re-open. Not interested. Sorry....

For the avoidance of doubt, I returned to this thread because I was reminded of its existence by the host ruling on the 'LGBT' thread and it picked up a train of thought I have become interested in right now for reasons explained above.

That is the entire extent to which me resurrecting this thread was to do with you.

However, if you're "not interested" now that it has been reawakened, it rather begs the question of why you were "interested" - wholly out of context - elsewhere.

If you want to defend yourself, in case you hadn't noticed there is a shiny new Hell thread devoted to you.

If you want to attempt to defend your ideas as set forth on the LGBT thread, this thread here in DH has been unequivocally indicated to you as the place to do it. If you don't, the natural conclusion readers will draw is that they are indefensible.

[ 20. February 2016, 14:40: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus on the other thread:
But I can't get away - so far - from heterosexual monogamy as an archetype in the Bible, although not a few people here have almost persuaded me otherwise.

It follows that I see the Church as having some responsibility to uphold that archetype.

My view is that the Bible does present that archetype. The Old Testament presents racial purity as an archetype which the New Testament seems to do away with. Or reinterpret.

Both Testaments present slavery and male superiority - which Christian analysis has also reinterpreted with more complete and earlier progress on slavery than male superiority.

Personally I think that heterosexual superiority is the same sort of thing.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Eutychus
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Another great point. Since I posted that I've been challenged, off the boards, as to whether it's right to say that the church has a responsibility to uphold the (hetero) archetype.

The thing I still can't get away from, though, is that it takes a man and a woman to produce a baby.

In and of itself, that obervation is not a comment on the validity or otherwise of same-sex relationships, nor do many people today understand it to be the prime or only purpose of hetero relationships.

But it is a natural fact, and one that would be pretty important to the survival of the species if we imagine some population-diminished dystopia in which we don't have modern technology.

That, it seems to me, sets Adam and Eve apart from any archetypes on race or slavery, for instance.

Once again a quick proviso to say that my thinking on all this is still very much a work in progress.

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One has to take part. Scary as it is. - Martin60
Jerusalem is a city without walls

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

The thing I still can't get away from, though, is that it takes a man and a woman to produce a baby.

But this is a misrepresentation of how species survival works. It isn't about individuals, but the group. And homosexuality in the animal kingdom is replete with examples of how homosexuality is a survival trait. Including research suggesting this is true in humans. To clarify, homosexuality is a naturally occurring trait. The research is into the benefits of having a percentage of the population being homosexual.

[ 23. February 2016, 06:10: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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