Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wear the Pants: Questions for a "Genderless Society," Part 4

I've been writing a series of thoughts on gender. Parts One and Two talked a little bit about my journey. Part Three asked questions about the meaning of masculinity and femininity.

Then there's the debate over homosexuality. I wrote a few days ago about Andrew Marin and his amazing work in the area of Christian/LGBT relations. I think that the Church has sinned greatly in our treatment of gays and lesbians, and we have a long way to go to make up for our wrongs.

And I hold traditional views on sexuality. I have carefully and prayerfully worked through a lot on this subject, and I remain convinced that God's design, God's best is for sexual relationships to be between one man and one woman in the context of the sacrament of marriage.

I got an email from my friend Tabatha a few days back. She was reacting to my second post on gender. Her email read, in part:

"my question is about the book talking about women not demanding their rights because they didn't want to be offensive in the first century and would rather forego their rights than hinder the gospel, but now, it would be offensive to NOT have them in ministry, so we should let them. i guess my question is couldn't homosexuals say the same thing? it just doesn't seem like a strong argument to me - if we leave it up to culture to determine the shift of the practice of the church, how do you decide where that line is? "

A very good question. Many folks believe that you can see this "progressive" revelation about women (and slaves, for that matter) in a sort of "trajectory of freedom" for LGBT people as well. That where these things were once forbidden, they are not anymore...

John Stackhouse
, again in his book, Finally Feminist, tackles this topic. He, along with William J. Webb, in Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis, argue brilliantly that slaves and women are indeed free in Christ. Homosexual sexual relationships, however, are not allowed. The prohibition against this behavior stems from design, from the way God intended us to function.

I agree with this, and I see that - in light of what I was writing last time about the way we best reflect our Creator, a heterosexual marriage, by definition, would reflect God more accurately than a gay union.

I think that's all I'm going to say on the subject for now. I'm really glad for your thoughts and interaction here on the blog and on Facebook.

One more book recommendation. I keep forgetting to mention it: Scot McKnight, North Park University professor, Jesus Creed author and amazingly prolific and popular blogger, published a book this year that really helped me in two areas: how we read the Bible and women in ministry.

The book is called The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible. Check it out. I was challenged this week on Facebook by someone to "let the Bible interpret the Bible" and not be too influenced by authors' takes on the Bible. I have been reflecting on that, and I have to say two things:

1) I am humbled and challenged to spend more time in the Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me "into all truth." (John 16:13) She's right. I often spend more time with Christian books than with THE Christian book.

2) I am still convinced that we need guides for the Journey, and that a "plain and simple" reading of the Bible is not as plain and simple as we'd like to think it is.

Next week, 2009 in Review and Christmas reflections.

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