I usually try to read when I go to the gym....while hoofing it on the treadmill or pedaling the incumbent bike. I (finally) went to the gym again yesterday. Emily and I have both been on a several month long hiatus from the gym. On me, it shows. On Em...not at all. We both went back this week...Emily twice...me, well...I made it there once. I figure her workouts cost me about 25$ each...and mine... 50 bucks. I have the fees automatically deducted from my checking account...so whether our Nikes hit the treadmill or not, the money still comes out. But I digress....imagine that!!!
When I went to the gym after work the other day, I took an article I had earmarked to read "when I have more time." It is one of, literally, thousands of earmarked articles. A plenitude of articles...not nearly enough time.
This particular article came from a website I happened upon during our week in Tennessee, while taking a break from church in our motel room…doing what I do best….cruising the internet. I've earmarked it to explore in more depth...but...a plenitude of websites...not nearly enough time.
It is called "Peace Theology." The website is authored by Ted Grimsrud, a Mennonite...a denomination known for their anti-violence/peace theology beliefs. Thus the name. Peace Theology. It has a lot of stuff....all written/collected from a non violence perspective. Very cool.
The article that caught my eye was under the section about the church and homosexuality. My own personal view....the church has a sorry ass record when it comes to its treatment of homosexuals. And this guy thinks so too. The article is entitled "What Did Jesus Do?" and seeks to outline a christlike pattern of relating to homosexuals based on a variation of the once very popular catch phrase, WWJD...What Would Jesus Do?
Can we know for sure what Jesus would do (or more importantly what Jesus would have me do) in any given situation? Perhaps not...although this article points out that we can come pretty darn close by taking a look at what Jesus DID DO.
Jesus was radical. I'm not so sure we realize how radical he was. On so many occasions, Jesus defied the rules of his "denomination" by healing, interacting with...actually fellowshipping with the untouchables of his day. And there were a lot of untouchables.
In our modern day world, we don't have to worry about ceremonial cleansing if we brush up against someone with eczema. Menstruating women are not banished to the garage or the shed out back until they are no longer "unclean." Thank goodness. Tax collectors, Roman soldiers, Samaritans. Oh my God, especially Samaritans. And Gentiles. And dead people. But Jesus was not all that concerned with the rules and regulations of his day. He touched the untouchables.
Just like the Jews, Christianity also has a long list of untouchables. The list varies from denomination to denomination...from liberal to conservative....emergent to evangelical...but there is, indeed, a list, sometimes unspoken...but often not. Sometimes the list of untouchables is a top...top priority to the group. And for far too many Christians, homosexuality is at the top of that list. Even liberal, emergent Christians, with a "love the sinner/ hate the sin" mindset, speak out against homosexuality.
Jesus did not take much time out of his busy schedule to preach about sexual sins. Homosexual or heterosexual. He did spare the woman caught in the act of adultery...entrusted the telling of the gospel to the Samaritan woman by the well....let a woman of rumored ill repute wash his feet with her hair. These things speak volumes and cast the light of understanding on how he might have interacted with homosexuals. Perhaps we should take our cue from him there too.
And perhaps we should seriously consider that annoying beam/speck thing he just had to go and say.
During my "research" of this topic, I came across several very interesting websites. (My research usually amounts to questions that pop into my head while reading/writing about a particular article/book/topic that I then submit to the magic google search engine) I found several web sites for “coalitions” of gays and straights. One in particular that intrigued me was a website called Canyon Walker Connections, the website of Kathy Baldeck, who (quoting this from memory) as recently as 2004, did not think she would see any gay folks in heaven. Although now an impassioned advocate for gays, at one time she was on the other side of the issue…for 20 or so years....until God used (quoting from Kathy's blog)
......a Native American, lesbian, then-agnostic woman to draw me out from my white girl, straight girl, Christian enclave to understand the inequality, the injustice and the church wounding meted out by Jesus followers. Hey, I recognized it; I was one of them. It took five more years for me to push open the door fully wide and start to shout to the church. I went to the Gay Christian Network Conference in January 2007 as the first straight supporter, knowing absolutely no one prior to my arrival. Two months before, I was not even sure GLBT believers existed. Then, to discover that they were organized?!
In a room of 300 GLBT Christians that first night in worship, I was overwhelmed. It was then that I put two feet in. I crossed the line and threw the door to my soul and spirit open wide . The Holy Spirit was indeed in the midst of His people. Don’t bother discounting this as an “emotional” experience thus allowing you to justify ignoring my message. I’ve done this now for five years and the conviction only deepens. Attending the conference immediately brought the end of a five year relationship with a quite homophobic man that I actually wanted to marry. Purpose or person? I’ll take purpose for three months of unbearable agony, please.
What a brave woman!!
More tomorrow on some of the other links I ran across...more from the article on Peace Theology....and more on what we can ascertain about what we should DO based on what Jesus DID DO....