What I was thinking…

I pulled the weblog-post below from Andrew Sullivan’s weblog. It doesn’t surprise me, but reading through what Dew wrote reminded me of thoughts I had back in the early-to-mid 80’s when I was in the height of my Evangelical self. (Click the link below to read the post. It may make my comments that follow more understandable.)
As absurd as this sounds, I used to wonder how non-Christian parents could ever really love their children! After all, the ability to love came only from Jesus. We could only truly love when we were in relationship with Jesus, so those who were not could not really love anything, but maybe themselves or evil. I would think that non-Christian parents were only interested in themselves – satisfying their own desires, lusts, or needs without putting their children or their children’s needs before their own. I actually could not conceive of how non-Christian parents could truly love their children.
Think about that! What was I thinking? I was taking the Religious Right’s ideas to some of their logical conclusions, I believe. These conclusions extend to just about every aspect of live.
Now consider the Republican Party and the political process – I now hear or read Religious Right politicos talking about RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only). The term “RINO” applies to any Republican who does not support the policy points of the Religious Right. John McCain, Giuliani, or any moderate are examples, and I believe they are including non-Christian Republicans in that category as well.
After all, to have a country so instituted by God’s will as is the United States, and knowing that our country is divinely chosen to fulfill a great purpose in the world, and knowing that a government’s role is to see to the development of God’s purposes, then only “born-again” Christians can rightfully lead this country. Since godly leadership can only be elected by those who approve of God’s plan for the nation, then eventually, if left to their own devises, the Religious Right over time would justify limiting the vote to only those who can prove a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. After all, our founding documents first limited voting rights to landed men, so there is a Constitutional precedent for restricting those who can vote, just as long as it is not according to skin color or gender (those characteristics are enshrined in the Constitution). Non-Christians would only selfishly vote for those things that are going to benefit them, and those things will obviously be ungodly. Evil can only beget evil.
Thank God, and I mean it, that I am no longer in that mind-set (even though my current one is probably just as warped!).

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Christianity Today and Gay Marriage

I’m feeling much better, but still staying low. I actually have time on my hands.
I’ve been reading the latest edition of Christianity Today, which takes on the topic of gay marriage. The first article, What God Hath Not Joined: Why Marriage Was Designed for Male and Female, by Edith M. Humphre (associate professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) deals with a variety of points from an anti-gay perspective. Under the heading Distorted Image, she asks what it means to give an authentic welcome to the Church for non-Christians. She says, “No one is to be excluded from the church or any aspect of its life by being Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free. The revisionists insist that homoerotic orientation (and, they mean, expression) is just as central to a person’s identity and equally no bar to inclusion in the church.” (emphasis mine) The next paragraph, she starts, “But what about Jesus’ call to repentance?” She goes on to say that revisionists want to dismiss the sinfulness of homosexuality and proclaim it to be just another “Jew and Gentile,” “slave and free” – “straight and gay,” I presume.
One thing that truly frustrates me, especially as someone who can see a rational in both sides of the argument and wants to know Truth, is that prohibitionist Christians cannot come to this debate without first demanding the presuppositional claim that homosexuality, however defined, is sin, and everything then follows from that presupposition. Her comment about Jesus’ calling people to repentance, as in the example of the woman caught in adultery, presumes that homosexuality is already sin and therefore cannot be accommodated in the church, period. How then, according to her, can there be any legitimacy in the calls by “revisionists” to allow homosexual people to be in relationship with any part of the Body of Christ. That would mean, according to the argument, that they are calling the Church to accept sin.
Robert A.J. Gagnon’s does the same thing. He writes is book, The Bible and Homosexual Practice (the proclaimed pinnical of Evangelical scholarship on homosexuality, which scares me) with a stated presupposition that homosexuality is sin and cannot be accepted within the Church. He says his book is written in response to the poor emotionally and psychologically bent gay people he has come into contact with, but it is simply an attempt to justify his preconceived idea of what is correct regarding homosexuality.
Prohibitionists demand the conversation begin with homosexuality as sin, before any evidence is examined. Accommodationists demand the conversation begin with homosexuality not as sin, before any evidence is examined. All their justifications and condemnations then flow from their presuppositions.
Where are Christians who can put aside posturing and declaring God’s Truth before the conversation even begins? Where are the Christians, who are supposed to be striving to know God’s Truth, who will come to the question with a clear slate and say, “I will examine the evidence and draw my conclusions afterward.”? Where are they? Jeremy Marks in England, and Evangelical ex-gay leader who has made an 180 degree shift in his thinking, and Bishop Alexander of Atlanta, and Episcopalian who was opposed to homosexuality and has changed his position, are two examples of people who where theologically opposed to homosexuality and have changed their opinions due to the mounting evidence against the Prohibitionistç—´ positions. I would give anything to find a scholarly book that revealed the process someone went through who came to this question with a neutral attitude, examined the evidences, and drew a conclusion – on either side. I haven’t found one from an Evangelical perspective, and this is what so disappointed by about Gagnon’s book.