A contemplative moment. I don't like what I've experienced the past few hours. Let me be specific.
One thing is... I'm always surprised when a belief about the equality of women in the Kingdom [non-hierarchical] leads someone to say that the same thinking that led to that will lead to homosexual behavior being approved as if both [equality of persons and acceptance of immoral behavior] are linked and both are immoral. My guess is the female gender would have a sense of being disrespected tremendously by that. [And rightfully so...I'm even sure some whose behavior is of that nature would object to the disrespect as well.]
The fact that someone would try to justify doing it by saying they are speaking only of a failure to use sound principles of biblical interpretation which bring about the one [equality of gender] and would bring about the other [sexual orientation acceptance] doesn't change the disrespect. It exacerbates it. They are attempting to say that to believe in Kingdom gender equality is a result of the acceptance of a cultural standard rather than a biblical one. Not withstanding people CAN see the scriptures differently both using good principles of interpretation since we see through a glass darkly at present, the fact is that cultures, including the American one, DO NOT have a gender equality belief at all. The pay scale adequately shows that as a multitude of other gender prejudiced things do. The same could be said for racial equality.
In fact, were christians to be truly biblical in relationships especially in marriage and family life, it would upset the apple cart of our culture as well as all other nations, beyond measure. It would be tantamount to the turmoil Jesus caused when He brought about a radical view of equality regardless of race, gender, or social background to the life of His own religious and secular culture. How transforming and disturbing is that to a hierarchical, racial, male -dominated culture!! But, alas, it will take His return for culture to truly be transformed that way. That is unless one becomes truly a biblical christian. Then it would be seen as a reality albeit in a microcosm in a marriage and family where there is mutual respect, value, submission and love all under Jesus as Lord. That sounds like the picture of a truly biblical local church as well.
A second thing...resulting in my uneasiness and repentance is... I've found that, if we're not careful, in our zeal [my zeal] to disprove the charge that our culture has dictated our gender-equality position and will bring about the approval of homosexual behavior unless changed, we can come to a person-bashing position under the disguise of theological correctness. There is no doubt in my mind that the sexual behavior under discussion is of the same moral category as that of adultery and fornication and is not the best for human relationships.
That said, we must never forget that Jesus was identified as one who "ate with publicans [tax-collectors who were the dregs of society] and sinners." [Luke 15:1-2] May that same charge ever be laid at our feet as His followers and people of His Kingdom. Whatever one's definition of "dregs" of society [some would say religious people are] we are to recognize and embrace their value as a human being and be ready to express grace, mercy, and love to whomever fits your particular definition of that word "dregs."
I personally hold to two conflicting opinions here. I do believe certain actions [the three named earlier] are immoral and destructive actions. I also believe those guilty of such actions are to be people I embrace and love as I've been loved of the Lord. That is my greatest desire. I would hope NO ONE experiences rejection from me whatever their particular behavior might be. With regards to sexual child-abuse I'm still on the journey of non-rejection of the one who is serving a fifteen year sentence in prison for my grand-daughter being attacked. However, I AM on the journey.
But I also hold to a different definition of "dregs." I don't mean to be cruel here, but I'm rapidly approaching a belief that the "real" dregs of society in the day of Jesus were the religious people who thought more of their belief system than they did of the mind boggling reality of God's revelation of Himself in the Son seen in His receiving of the so-called outcasts. I'm not sure the same isn't happening today. That "They were first called christians" event was in Antioch as the people saw believers embracing people of every stripe some of whom were then broken by that love and the gospel that followed and came to know the love of God in Christ. "See how they love" was the testimony of the day for believers. That love is still the biblical standard for us I believe.
Lest someone hear this as love with no doctrinal foundation or lest someone think this love will lower the scriptural standard for immoral behavior, let me say, I do not mean that at all. I DO mean that the same love, experienced in Christ and founded upon the truth of scripture WILL be shed abroad by the Holy Spirit to people who may be a bit unlovely. Even those in their theological cages they've built for themselves. In other words, it isn't any less important to love the elder brother of Luke 15 than it is to love the younger one. [The prodigal] My problem used to be not loving the younger guy of Luke 15. I learned better. Then I struggled loving the elder guy. But when God's love is REALLY shed abroad thru me it will go to both the elder and younger bros. [The legalists and the immoral ones] just as the father did.
Finally, what I've said all says more about me than anyone else. I'm a work in progress and, as one of my favorite commenters Aussie John says, it comes with some "ego bruising" going on if real growth happens. It's happening and my ego is no longer in tact. Not that it has grounds to be intact and, after all, this is a "praise the lord" thing as you can see.
So...my comment approval button has been punched once again. [It was only recently opened anyway] I find I need time to think over negative comments that might be posted and when they need, I can answer them privately through e-mail as I've done many times over the past two years of blogging at least those which I deem too critical in spirit to benefit anyone. I realize that someone may view this my being unable to take criticism. Trust me after pastoring for forty years a thin skin is NOT my problem. My problem is really the opposite. I answer in like kind too easily. That is the flesh I struggle with and, perhaps, will until Jesus comes. So as an alcoholic would be wise to refrain from the area of temptation, so should one who tends toward an addiction to setting people straight who, unjustly, in the opinion of the one offended, criticizes people he knows and respects.
This is obviously a rather long apology for a job not done well but an apology it is. Since done in public the apology is in public.