Friday, January 19, 2007

There's a lot of argument on certain sites about the ordination of gay bishops in the Episcopal Church,and whether or not it is a sign of 'end times'.

Here, for what it is worth, is my response to some of the more outlandish freaks:

"Many writers on this topic have noted the assertion from Leviticus 18:22 that homosexuality is an abomination, and gone on to ask how can a Biblical Church ordain gay bishops.

The answer is very simple: many Christians accept the Bible as containing the Word of God, telling the life story of Jesus, and containing compelling moral guidelines, whilst also realising that they are reading a translation of a number of texts written by a number of different people between two and four thousand years ago.

Many Christians would emphasis that, for them, the importance of the Bible, is its information about the life of Christ. Many would point out that Jesus himself said he was making 'a new covenant', replacing all of the precepts of the Old Testament with two: "Love God with all your heart" and "Love thy neighbour as thyself". "There is no other commandment than these." (Mark 12: 28 - 31). Christians, in an acceptance of Christ, are forced to prefer his teachings to the Old testament laws when they come into conflict: the exhortations to 'turn the other cheek' are clearly not compatible with the OT's demand of 'an eye for an eye'. Otherwise there would have been a whole lot of cheek-slapping going on...

So, people have a nuanced, textured view of the Bible, recognising that no two translations are the same, and that the texts of which the Bible is made up are not necessarily the same as they always were. Are the Apocrypha just as much part of the Word of God as the accepted Bible? What about the books from the Nag Hammadi Library?

To conclude, let us look only at Chapter 11 of Leviticus. What other things does it consider an abomination? Eating of shellfish (11:10). By the logic that this is an abomination, God hates it, no bishop who intends to eat shellfish in the future should be ordained. God even hates lobster shells: "their carcasses you shall have in abomination." Odd that the God who made prawns should feel so strongly about them.

In verses 7 and 8 Leviticus clearly states that no one should touch the skin of a pig ("their carcasses you shall not touch"). Someone obviously forgot to tell Pope John Paul II, who, when playing soccer in Poland, must certainly have come into contact with the skin of the pig, or he would have been terrible at his position in goal.

If we take God at his word as revealed in Leviticus God hates gays about as much as he hates menstruating women (Leviticus 15:19) and Wilbur from Charlotte's Web (11:7).

Leviticus also states that we should atone adulterers to death (20:10). Thus, among those who should be stoned are such leaders as Jim Bakker, Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. Maybe Leviticus does get some things right...

Jesus, you may remember, actually intervened to stop an adulteress being stoned to death, saying: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." He clearly disagreed with some of the teachings of the Old Testament, and said so explicitly.

That is how one can be a Christian, a Biblical Christian, and believe that the ordination of gay bishops is part of Jesus' challenge to us to love one another as ourselves, and his affirmation of the new covenant for all mankind."