Let's not forget to breath. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Christmas is coming. I started this little series of notes with Jim Reeves and "Gimme That Old Time Religion." How about we wrap it up with a little Dave Brubek, just for fun? Take Five! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faJE92phKzI
I've been sharing a few thoughts on how we balance concerns for morality and changing cultural understandings. The language I've used the last few weeks as been that of "morals, boundaries and laws" and the "prophetic strand" with its concern for those who fall through the cracks of our systems. Perhaps a better way to tackle all of this is simply the way Jesus does. One starts with love of God and love of neighbor. On these principles "hang all the law of the prophets."
So, a Scriptural word may apply to me personally in one way. I know myself to be heterosexual and so I take the Biblical teachings around same gender concerns as applicable to me. But do these same words apply to my gay or lesbian sister or brother in the same way? Martin Lutheran writes the following:
"One must deal cleanly with the Scriptures. From the very beginning the word has come to us in various ways. It is not enough simply to look and see whether this is God’s word, whether God has spoken it; rather we must look and see to whom it has been spoken, whether it fits us. That makes all the difference between night and day. … ” (LW 35: 170.)
Luther writes this primarily about Old Testament laws written for Israel which may no longer apply to those of us free in Christ, but I would suggest it is also a helpful way to ask about what applies how in our sexuality conversations. I'm one of those who thinks the sexual morays of a patriarchal, heterosexual culture (that of the Bible) don't apply easily to the relational realities of gay and lesbian people.
So what do we do with the "first and greatest commandment" - that which calls us to love God and neighbor? This has been our conversation. We do not destroy or simply cast aside morals and boundaries here. We do, however, listen to the voices of those who have been caught in the middle of old understandings and new.
As Jesus says, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."
Mt. 13:52 (NIV)
Or again, "Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
Mt. 9:17 (NIV)
Take five. Catch you breath. Enjoy the season. Rejoice in the good old wine and enjoy the new. That's what I plan to do. And I'm also moving on to another discussion for now. Thanks for joining in!