Monday, February 13, 2006

55. Women

No, I have not dropped off of the face of the earth… I’ve just been busy… and tired.  I’ve been online, and reading other people’s blogs.  I just haven’t had the energy to write my own.  As much as I love children, they certainly can drain you of energy.  It’s 8:30pm here, and I’m forcing myself to not go to bed.  

One of the blogs I’ve been reading is Christine’s over at TalkWisdom.  Now before I begin this, I want to start by saying that I like Christine… or at least I like what I know of her – we’ve only ever communicated via our blogs.  We have very differing view points politically (I tend to lean a bit left, and she is… well, slightly right).  That having been said, I do believe that she is a very nice person.  Her heart is definitely in the right place and she obviously puts Christ first in her life.  

Now that I’ve said all that (and quite sincerely I might add), I’m still a bit nervous to write down the thoughts that her blog inspired for two reasons.  One:  I don’t want a bunch of people heading over to her blog and calling her names, or even trying to respectfully engage her in a discussion on a topic she has said she doesn’t feel she should address anymore.  Two:  well, I’ve told a lot of my close friends about this blog, and while none of them read it very regularly, the idea of a certain few of them stumbling on this entry worries me.  Oh, don’t worry, it’s not going to get graphic or anything… it’s not even going to be anything I haven’t mentioned before (at least in passing).  It’s just going to be more direct that anything I’ve written before.  

So, what is this dubious topic?  Women.

Heh… it’s always about women!

But seriously folks (“…try the veal, and be sure to tip your waitress!”), I’m actually talking about women in Scripture.  

In junior high I decided to read through the entire Bible – it was about the time the One Year Bible became popular, so I got one… and started reading.  I quickly realized that there were huge passages of Scripture no one had ever read to me, in church or otherwise… and no one seemed to pay attention to.  I’m talking about all the verses about women – how we shouldn’t cut our hair, or braid it, or wear jewelry, or teach or preach, or even talk in church… I sat in my bed, wearing my jeans, with my shortish, braided hair and my big 80s florescent jewelry thinking “whoa… I’m sinning right now, while I’m reading the Bible… how come no one talks about this?”  And then, as I sat there, I realized I went to a church where women led Bible studies and taught… even preached.  And I’d been to churches with female pastors on staff (I’ve since attended many churches with female pastors on staff, and at least one that I can recall with a woman as the head pastor).  

These verses about women are there, and they are much more direct and explicit than the ones “about” homosexuality.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, with the exception of the Leviticus passage (which I would like to add, is sandwiched between a whole bunch of verses that we completely ignore), none of the verses “about” homosexuality are actually about homosexuality.  Homosexuality is mentioned only ever in passing… even the famous Romans 1 passage is actually about idolatry.  It’s more than a little frustrating that Paul can write verses and verses about women in the church and people don’t even bother to read them anymore, but he merely mentions something which might be interpreted as homosexuality (there is some legitimate debate on this issue of interpretation) and the entire Religious Right movement is launched against us.  

Of course, I in no way mean to say that I believe that women should have long hair and no jewelry...  I’ve heard the arguments – mainly that those laws were culturally based, etc… and I think they are most likely valid arguments.  But to be perfectly honest, I haven’t looked into it very much myself.  I’ve just chosen to trust that if I’m wrong, God will let me know somehow.  

Now, I do not feel at all called to preach, so the verses about women teaching and preaching are not so much relevant to me, except that the church I attend regularly in Canada employs women on it’s pastoral staff, who preach quite regularly.  And I would have no problems attending a church with a female head pastor.  So, I guess they are kind of relevant.  I remember in one of my meetings with one of the female pastors at my church this whole topic came up.  She happens to be an excellent preacher, an excellent teacher, and has a very pastoral heart.  I can’t actually remember the context of this conversation but I remember her saying something like this:

“I haven’t actually sorted through the whole ‘women in ministry’ thing.  I know what the Bible says, and I plan to investigate it for myself eventually.”

She said this while being a woman in ministry, in a position of leadership, preaching, teaching (and incidentally occasionally cutting her hair) at my church.  

What triggered this memory?  A comment I left over at Christine’s blog “

“You seem to make the assumption that anyone who takes a 'pro-gay behavior' stance has basically said "this is what I want to do, so how can I justify it", instead of considering the fact that they might seriously have thought about this, sought God and read the Scriptures. This is simply not the case, no more than it is for any woman who preaches.”

After I wrote this, I got to thinking… that’s not actually true.  Most gay Christians I’ve encountered have examined this issue far more diligently than most Christian women I know… especially those gay Christians who take a Side A stance (pro-gay relationships).  This woman I’ve mentioned, who I happen to respect a great deal (I’ve mentioned her more than a few times on this blog) was perfectly content to keep preaching and being in leadership without looking into this issue really at all.  She’d heard the same arguments I had, and probably a few more, but readily admitted that she didn’t have all the answers, that it was possible she was disobeying God’s law.  But she felt called to preach, she felt called to the ministry, she felt called to be a pastor. I’m can only assume that it ‘felt right’ to her to be in that position.  What if I did the same thing?  What if I went with what ‘felt right’ for me, and started dating women? What if I said I’d figure it out later?  I can’t imagine anyone from my church thinking that that was acceptable.  What if I treated my sexuality with the same cavalier attitude that most of Western Christendom (myself included) treats the very prescriptive verses about how women should dress?  You know – “Well, other people seem to think that it’s okay for women to wear pants and jewelry and to braid their hair, so I guess it’s probably alright.”  I mean, most Christians (and I do mean evangelical Christians, by the way) never really think about this issue at all.  What if I did that?  “There are gay Christians out there who marry and have sex and they seem to think it’s okay, so it’s probably alright…”

Again, let me reiterate that I do think it’s alright for women to adorn themselves with jewelry and braid their hair and preach… I trust the wisdom of the Church, and I have done a tiny bit of research into this myself.  I believe that people are probably right, that those laws were culturally based, and not meant for us in the 21st century.  But the Church hasn’t always thought this way, and even today we don’t all agree.  When I lived in Texas I went to school with a few girls who didn’t ever cut their hair (it actually fell past their knees), or braid it (which made the length even worse) because of what the Bible said about that.  

This is a somewhat off-topic, and very bitter and cynical point, but I do sometimes wonder if the reason the Church has been willing to reexamine and reinterpret Paul’s words about women is because at least 50% of the Church is women, so they have to listen to our voices… and maybe the reason the Church (as a whole) is unwilling to reexamine the verses ‘about’ homosexuality is because we represent such a minority that they feel they can ignore us.  

Anyway, that’s it.  That’s what I’ve been thinking about for the past little while.  

On a completely different note, I’m beginning to enjoy myself more here.  Not that I wasn’t enjoying myself before, but… well, I got my first pay cheque on Friday and now I can actually afford to leave my home!  I’m still really enjoying the other English staff… one of whom has just been informed that she will be moving into my building on March 1st, which is kind of awesome.  I’ll have a neighbour!  Not that I don’t have neighbours now, who are very nice, I’m sure, but I can’t talk to any of them.  Anyway, I hope this girl and I end up getting along – not that we’ll be actually living together, but these apartments are so small (one room… not one bedroom, one room), that it will be kind of like being roommates.  She’s nice, and I like her well enough, but so far I have no idea if we click at all.  

Well, that’s it.  Blessings from Korea, y’all!    

10 Comments:

Boo said...

The short cynical answer:

Bashing gays makes for better fundraising than bashing women.

Actually, there's still a lot of controversy about women in the church. One of the issues tearing the Episcopal church apart right now is women in ministry. There was that huge flap at Accokeek when they refused to accept the authority of a female bishop and it all got very nasty and ended up in court.

Christinewjc said...

I was involved in a Bible study of 1st and 2nd Timothy. Here are some of my notes on the issue of women teaching in the church:

To understand the verses in 1 Timothy 2:9-15, we must understand the situation in which Paul and Timothy worked. In first-century Jewish culture, women were not allowed to study. When Paul said that women should learn in quietness and full submission, he was offering them an amazing new opportunity. [Note: We see how some religions still don't even allow women to learn nor enter into a place of worship with men!] Paul did not want the Ephesian women to teach because they didn't yet have enough knowledge or experience. The Ephesian church had a particular problem with false teachers. Evidently the women were especially susceptible to the false teachings (2 Timothy 3:1-9), becasue they did not yet have enough Biblical knowledge to discern the truth. In addition, some of the women were apparently flaunting their newfound Christian freedom by wearing inappropriate clothing (2:9). Paul was telling Timothy not to put anyone (in this case, women) into a position of leadership who was not yet mature in the faith (see 5:22). The same principle applies to churches today. (see the expansion of this thought in 3:6).

As you had pointed out within your post, JJ, some interpret this passage to mean that women should never teach in the assembled church; however, commentators often use additional Scripture to point out that Paul did not forbid women from ever teaching. Paul's commended co-worker, Priscilla, taught Apollos, the great preacher (Acts 18:24-26). In addition, Paul frequently mentioned other women who held positions of responsibility in the church. Phoebe worked in the church (Romans 16:1), Mary, Tryphena, and Tryphosa were the Lord's workers (Romans 16:6, 12), as were Euodia and Syntyche [Note: what unique names!] (Philippians 4:2). Paul was very likely prohibiting the Ephesian women, not all women, from teaching.

In Paul's reference to women being silent, the word silent expresses an attitude of quietness and composure. (A different Greek word is usually used to convey "complete silence.") In addition, Paul himself acknowledges that women publicly prayed and prophesied (1 Corinthians 11:5). Apparently, however, the women in the Ephesian church were abusing their newly acquired Christian freedom.

Because these women were new converts, they did not yet have the necessary experience, knowledge, or Christian maturity to teach those who already had extensive Scriptural education.

Verses 2:13 & 14 help us to realize the further context of the passage. In previous letters Paul had discussed male/female roles in marriage (Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:18, 19). Here he talks about male/female roles within the church. Some scholars see these verses about Adam and Eve as an illustration of what was happening in the Ephesian church. Just as Eve had been decieved in the Garden of Eden, so the women in the church were being deceived by false teachers. And just as Adam was the first human created by God, so the men in the church in Ephesus should be the first to speak and teach, becuase they had more training.

This view, then, stresses that Paul's teaching here is not universal, but applies to churches with similar problems.


Other scholars, however, contend that the roles Paul points out are God's design for his created order - God established these roles to maintain harmony in both the family and the church.

In light of the fact that Paul did allow certain trained women to teach, it makes more sense (IMHO) to agree with the view that Paul's teaching within the verses of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 was not a universal statement, but should be applied towards churches that had (or currently have) similar problems with new or baby Christian women being deceived by false teaching.

1 Timothy 3:6 mentions that new believers should become secure and strong in the faith before taking leadership roles in the church. Obviously, new faith needs time to mature. New believers should have a place of service, but they should not be put into leadership positions until they are firmly grounded in their faith, with a solid Christian life-style and a knowledge of the Word of God.

Eighteen years ago, when I re-dedicated my life to Christ and began to diligently study the Scriptures, I studied for over three years before I began to share what I was learning from God's Word. Fifteen years later, I still diligently study the Scriptures, but I now consider myself equipped to share what I have learned. No one ever knows it all. Only God does. We actually come to realize that we will never completely "arrive" in our Biblical education!. In fact, the more I study the more I realize how much more there is to learn! But what the Lord has provided for me thus far is enough to share the gospel with others.

I may not have every answer. No one does. But I have found that what I have learned through Knowing the Person and mission of Jesus Christ is to be shared with those who have not heard. The study, prayer, application and the sharing of God's Word is sufficient for confidence in steadfast faith through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Boo said...

Now perhaps we can apply that kind of in-depth reasoning to gays and scripture...

marauder said...

Hi JJ,

Don't know if you're familiar with Real Live Preacher, but he makes a related point regarding homosexuality in one of his older posts. Even if we accept the five or six places in the Bible that say "homosexuality is bad" at face value, we have to accept that there are plenty of other places where the Bible says other things are bad, and we don't pay any attention to them. The preacher's take is, "Why deny gays and lesbians the same right to set aside those verses that we do to other, much clearer and strongly worded passages that deal with our behaviors?"

That's not his main comment on the subject, of course; merely the one that sprang to mind when I read this entry of yours.

As he notes, the concept of a monogamous, committed same-sex relationship would have been an alien thought to Paul and the other New Testament writers. When the Bible does address homosexual behavior (and it's never portrayed as an issue of orientation, only of behavior), it addresses specific contexts that, again, do not correspond neatly with the terms of the debate today. The Greek words used in 1 Corinthians 9 refer to a young, effeminate male prostitute and an older man who pays to have sex with him. One can't help but wonder if other statements of disapproval against heterosexual prostitution should lead to a view of heterosexual behavior as sinful, if we were to view it in the same manner.

Anyway, I leave the Preacher to present his own arguments, at the link cited above. My own feeling is that some evangelical leaders in the United States have blown this issue way out of proportion, with little to no regard for the people they are hurting, many of whom are themselves Christians. Paul's statements on homosexual behavior were bullet items on a lengthy list of human behavior, and his point is that no one has any claim to be righteous or to have good standing before God, because all have sinned. I am certainly in no position to moralize to another believer about any of their failings, real or perceived, because my own sins are pretty foul in themselves.

By the grace of Christ I pray to be worthy to join you, Liadan and the other gay and lesbian believers I've known at the Communion table.

Christinewjc said...

Boo said, "Now perhaps we can apply that kind of in-depth reasoning to gays and scripture..."

It's been done many times by many people. I have several posts at my blog that apply in-depth reasoning to homosexual behavior and how Scripture condemns it. It is only when someone twists, ignores, lies about, and/or attempts to re-interpret the verses which strictly prohibit such behavior that we get the 'gay-behavior affirming' Christian arguments.

Please read the following posts at my blog and consider the thorough research, exegesis, and hermeneutics they all contain on the issue of homosexuality. You may not like or agree with what you read, but God's Word is absolutely clear on this issue.

The Times of the Signs, The Days of Lot

People are looking for a way out of unwanted homosexual attraction, behavior and perceived orientation. Ministries like Stephen Bennett's are continually attacked by gay activists who don't want the truth known that gays can change. One of my first blogposts was about this.

Most Difficult Ministries

The Pastor Ake' Green trial shows how hate crimes laws can take the issue too far and attempt to silence what the Bible says about homosexual behavior. The Bible verses that condemn homosexuality and the churches willing to preach the truth about such behavior is the final frontier in the secular humanist political battle. If the Bible was finally labeled as "hate speech" and the churches that preach the real truth in this matter are finally silenced, then the realm of deception where the current gay agenda lives would be complete. That is what gay activists are attempting to accomplish through the courts because they know that they can't win in the state legislatures where the majority of people still have a voice on the important issues of marriage, morality, parent's rights and their desires in raising their children.

The Lord can free ANYONE from ANY stronghold of deception, including the deception of homosexuality.

Jesus can release us from the darkness, power of deception, and even the desire to continue in the participation of any kind of sin. No matter how strong the former temptations were, humbly submitting to His Will and placing Him on the throne within the center of our individual lives frees us from such strongholds

Finally, the strongest argument is included in the following comment that I posted to you on my blog weeks ago. It is in the comment section of The Devastating Error of Hate Crimes Law. So you don't need to search for it, I have included it below. Your previous claims that it is my interpretation rings hollow when we examine the whole of Scripture, the original intent of the writers (exegesis) and the science of interpretation (hermeneutics) that has stood the test of time for 2,000 years.

*******

Comment brought over:

But I will speak of what I know according to how the Bible is to be received and interpreted.

It is not my interpretation. Have you ever heard of hermeneutics? It is the art or science of interpretation, especially of the Scriptures. It is the branch of theology that deals with the principles of Biblical exegesis.

As I stated previously, the Bible verses which discuss homosexual behavior are crystal clear. No amount of twisting or re-interpretation could ever take away the original meaning which was being conveyed by God through the writers.

I am re-posting the following reply that I have given previously to those who often make the dubious claim that "Jesus never said anything about homosexuality." I realize that those who do not adhere to God's Word nor accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior can ignore what is written, however, it does use accurate hermeneutics which obviously creates a profound case for the Biblical interpretation that homosexual behavior is an abomination to God and sin.

*******

Christ did say that God created people “in the beginning” as male and female, and that marriage is the union of one man and one woman joined together as “one flesh.” (Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9) Nothing is said about any other type of union.


When He discussed sexual morality, Christ had a very high standard, clearly affirming long-standing Jewish law. He told the woman caught in adultery to “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11) He warned people not only that the act of adultery was wrong, but even adulterous thoughts. (Matthew 5:28) And he shamed the woman at the well (John 4:18) by pointing out to her that he knew she was living with a man who was not her husband.


Christ used the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of God’s wrath ( Matthew 10:15, Mark 6:11,Luke 10:12, and Luke 17:29). Throughout the Old Testament, prophets clearly described these cities as being notorious for the practice of homosexuality. (Genesis 18:20, Genesis 19:4-5, Isaiah 3:9, Jeremiah 23:14, Ezekiel 16:46-59). Jesus certainly knew that this was how the comparison would be understood.


Christ was God incarnate (in the flesh) here on earth. He was the long-expected Messiah, which was revealed in Matthew 16:13- 20, Matthew 17:5-9, Mark 8:27-30, Luke 4:16-30, Luke 9: 18-21,John 4:25-26, John 8:57-59 and elsewhere. As one with God, He was present from the beginning (John 1: 1-13; Colossians 1:15-17; Ephesians 3:9 and elsewhere). So, Jesus was part of the Godhead as the laws were handed down through Moses to Israel and eventually to the whole world. This Old Testament law clearly prohibited homosexuality (Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:18 and elsewhere). The apostles understood this also, as shown by Paul’s writing in Romans 1:24-27, Peter’s in 2 Peter 2:4-22, and John’s in Revelation 22:15.

So--the apostles, who were taught by Christ, clearly understood that homosexuality was a sin as it has always been. When people say, “Jesus said nothing about homosexuality,” they reveal that they really haven’t understood Scripture, or Who Christ is. Maybe some of these points can help them toward a clearer understanding.

*******

I am including two responses to this post that make the point even clearer.


Post ID: 709 Posted by: pool6x, 2005-09-17 02:13:00

This was an excellent reply based upon the truth of the Bible. Christ is God, the Holy Spirit (God also) inspired the Bible's writing, So when God declared homosexuality an abomination in the Old Testament, it was in fact Christ (God) who was the one declaring that. So, Christ did say a lot about homosexuality...everytime God says it in the Bible, Christ (part of the Godhead) is dittoing it.


Post ID: 716 Posted by: nitsuard, 2005-09-19 01:44:26

Excellent indeed! But I had a bad link to the original article and hope to read it b4 continuing my comments except to say that John 1 explains that Christ was GOD in the flesh and was the Creator who made everything, including every word written by man to be included in the Bible.

Boo said...

Christine- we've already had this argument a dozen times on your blog. Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed because of homosexuality, and Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel do not mention homosexuality in listing the sins of Sodom. Jeremiah mentions adultery but not homosexuality. Ezekiel and Isaiah don't even mention sex. If you find homosexuality in the Ezekiel Jeremiah and Isaiah verses you quoted to me you are hallucinating. In the cultures the Bible was written in, the idea of two men, to say nothing of two women, settling down to live their lives together was completely unknown. Everyone was expected to marry to propogate family lines. The most common culturally acceptable form of homosexuality in the time of the Old Testament was sacred prostitution in the temples of pagan gods, and at the time of Paul's letters it was young men having sex with young boys or male prostitutes until they were old enough to get married:

http://hometown.aol.com/GraceEACA/chapter2.html

God's Word does not mention every possible contingency when making pronouncements like "male and female He created them" as evidenced by the existence of intersexuals. Calling them "anomolies" doesn't avoid the issue. Who is someone with an intersexed chromosonal pattern supposed to love? Which gender role should they try to live out?

But the thing is, we've already had this out. You've decided your mind is closed, so what's the point of going on about it?

JJ said...

Hmmm... where do I start?

The arguments about women in ministry are pretty much what I had heard before -- although, of course, more in depth, but there was nothing in there that made me go "hmmm, I hadn't heard that before". But it is well researched and backed up. Thanks!

As to the comments regarding homosexuality, I have to say that I get the impression that the only version of the "pro-gay behavior" (Side A) arguments you have heard/read are from an "anti-gay behavior" (Side B or Side X) stance, because... well, honestly, I've read books and essays from both sides, and the 'more conservative' side rarely represents the 'more liberal side' well. They often use the weakest arguments from the Side A side -- for example, many Side B books will insist that what Side A people say the 'sin of Sodom' was inhospitality... this is simply not true. One book from the 70s makes this argument, but most people on the Side A side have a much more reasonable explanation... which I will explain now. Just because it always frustrates me to no end when people use the story of Sodom and Gomorrah as a proof text against homosexuality.

I actually didn't know that people seriously did this until I started doing this reading. And when I discovered it, I honestly couldn't believe it. First of all, I'll mention something that someone else thought of that I can't believe I missed -- Sodom and Gomorrah were going to be destroyed before the whole gay rape thing happened, so whatever sin God condemned them for had nothing to do with that incident. I suppose it could be argued that that incident was evidence of homosexual behavior in the city before that, but I think that would be stretching things. Especially when the Bible itself labels the sin of Sodom as "arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me." (Ezekiel 17:49). Again, I know that you will probably say that the 'detestable things' were gay sex, but there is no actual evidence of that. And given some of the other things I've read in Ezekiel (graphic descriptions of male genitals, for one) I think he would have been clear if that were the case. The only verse that remotely refers to sexual sin being the sin of Sodom is Jude 7, and when I have studied that, the verse also says nothing about homosexuality -- it talks about perverse behavior and 'desiring strange flesh'... but even that does little to convince me that Sodom was condemned for homosexuality. I grew up reading the Bible and knowing this story. I also grew up knowing that I was gay, and I have distinct memories of hearing the subject of homosexuality brought up in church and having my ears perk up because part of me was looking for any information I could find. I never once thought this story was a story about homosexuality... it was always a story about violence to me. Horrifying violence and gang rape.

Even today, in places like prison or in situations like hazing rituals, we know that homosexual rape seems to be usually committed by heterosexual men to show their dominance over the other in the most horrifying way possible. And considering that the Bible says that every single man in Sodom showed up for this event I would have to say that this is probably the case in this story as well... I think it would be really stretching the information to assume that all the men in Sodom were gay, especially considering that Lot found husbands for his daughters there. So, that alone makes this not a story about homosexual sin to me. But let's take the stance that most people who use this story do; that the men were all gay... even then it doesn't work to me. Because this is a story about rape, gang rape at that. And no one is suggesting that we want to prove that rape is okay. We would never say that the story of the rape of Dinah, and subsequent slaughter of all the men in her rapist's town (Genesis 34) shows that all heterosexual behavior is evil. The rape that is threatened in Sodom can no more be extrapolated to all homosexual behavior than the heterosexual rape in that story (or all the stories of heterosexual adultery for that matter) can be extrapolated to all heterosexual behavior.

As to the issue of ‘hate speech’, I really don’t know what that has to do with this issue. We are all agreed that what happened to that pastor in Sweden was wrong… even most gay people agree (I can’t find it right now, but over at the website ExgayWatch, which is a gay website, everyone there was agreed that that situation was taking things too far). But that has nothing to do with this discussion. I was not discussing hate speech, or the ‘free speech’ issue.

As to the argument that some people make that “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality”, I personally think that is a weak argument at best – we don’t know all that Jesus said… the book of John specifically says that Jesus said lots and lots that didn’t get written down. However, believing that the Bible is divinely inspired, I can make an argument (weak as it may be) that because this subject never shows up in any of Jesus’ recorded teachings, it can’t really have been that important.

And as far as hermeneutics is concerned, again I’m going to suggest that you have probably done very little reading on this issue from the opposing view. There are plenty of books written that use hermeneutics (The Children are Free, for one… and I imagine Boswell’s humoungous book probably goes into hermeneutics as well, but it is huge and I haven’t gotten around to it yet). When you look into hermeneutics, you will find that on this issue, things are not ‘crystal clear’. I wonder, have you had a chance to listen to the Tony Campolo talk I suggested? He is probably too liberal for your taste (on many issues), but on this issue he is conservative, but he manages to outline the pro-gay behavior stance for the most part without trying to pretend it has no merit (as most on the Side B/X side do).

Boo said...

JJ- regarding inhospitality- hospitality to the traveler was an extremely sacred obligation in the ancient world, because travelers were so vulnerable.

http://www.cresourcei.org/travelers.html

For the men of Sodom to violate Lot's hospitality to his guests and attempt to gang-rape them would have been seen as an extreme act of inhospitality, even worse than the rape itself. Lot's act of offering the crowd his daughters would actually have been seen as moral according to the times, because once he invited them to stay the night he was obliged to protect them even to the death of his whole family.

Christinewjc said...

Hi JJ,

One of the best and most comprehensive articles regarding the Christian response to homosexual behavior that I have ever read was written by Albert Mohler. It is called Homosexuality and the Bible.

Mr. Mohler does a great job of pointing out how some who would call themselves "modern" biblical scholars have, in actuality, twisted and skewed the original message(s) of the scripture verses that clearly condemn homosexual behavior as sin.

As I stated at my blog post to you, only one side of the issue (regarding whether or not acceptance of homosexual behavior is compatible with Christianity and God's Word) can possibly be correct. I choose to side with God's Word every time.

And, according to Mohler's article, it is more compassionate to warn those involved in any kind of sexual sin than to condone it and let them miss Christ's salvation for all eternity.

Jesus said in Mark 8:36 - "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"

mandy said...

hi, everybody. JJ, I've been following along in silence for a little while - I have great sympathy for the quandary in which you find yourself, although it is not mine. more later.

Dear Christine:

I have points I could bring in critique of your approach, but I gather that's a well-trodden path, so I'll leave them by. In any case, they are less important than the general trend I sense in your arguments and those you've marshaled to support your case, which is that you seem unwilling to entertain the line of thought that JJ, marauder, and Boo are asking you to consider.

the definition of hermeneutics you offer above is incorrect, or rather it is deceptively narrow. Hermeneutics is the study of frameworks of interpretation as applied not only to theology, but to law, literature and many other dimensions of human culture, regardless of their source. There is no such thing as "accurate" hermeneutics. There is only the hermeneutic from which we approach the text, and like it or not, all the received teaching that has shaped your approach to the text (whether in the form of direct commentaries or in cultural cues that guide you to look for certain answers) is as much a part of your interpretation of the text as its true meaning, if not more. If you had really engaged in hermeneutical inquiry, you would realize there's no such thing as crystal clarity in the Bible. Critique the grounds of JJ's arguments if you wish, explain why your framework gives a more accurate reading, but do not accuse her of dismissing the text simply because she approaches the text differently than you do. Even Jesus allowed himself to be persuaded by a stronger argument. Isn't it your responsibility to listen, and to consider them seriously before you dismiss them?