Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Time To Move On

‘tso…what’s the point of all this? We Presbyterians have spent much of the last 25 years spinning our wheels over this issue. Folks on the left and folks on the right have been lobbing theological mortar shells at each other, in a deeply entrenched spiritual battle of the Somme. Back and forth we’ve gone, battling in blood and mire over the same 40 yards of theological turf.

At the recent General Assembly of the denomination, a panel of conservatives and progressives brought us a different way of approaching this issue—essentially declaring a truce, and making the issue one that is adiaphora for the church. In other words, it is an issue on which people of good conscience can disagree.

Progressives and liberals are challenged to accept that conservative Christians may not, in fact, be simply acting out of bigotry and repressed hatred, but out of an honest desire to stay true to God’s will. Conservatives have been asked to accept that progressives aren’t just culturally corrupted pseudo-Wiccans, but might be acting out of an honest desire to fulfill God’s scriptural commands of love and justice.

We’ve been asked to set our swords aside and listen to each other, and to pray with each other. I don’t know, honestly, if it’s going to work. It’s a whole bunch easier to fight than it is to forgive.

My personal position on this—which a critical and dispassionate assessment of scripture indicates—is that the issue is not of central importance within the Bible.

But weaseling out of expressing the voice of my conscience would be annoying, so I’ll spit it out. I’m convinced that those who want to set aside the dysfunctional isolation and deception that have defined homosexual lifestyle and live instead in open partnered, covenanted same-sex relationships are doing something new, and that that new thing that is pleasing in God’s sight. That position is drawn from my own observations of partnered gays and lesbians working in ministry.

It is grounded in my wholistic approach to scripture, which places greater emphasis on the central principles it teaches and the Spirit that fills it.

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