Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just A-OK

Mollie Hemingway has a problem with the journalistic use of "gay-friendly" as descriptive of the recent decisions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and explains why:
“Gay-friendly” is the term I want to look at. What does that mean?

The ELCA adopted a “social statement” that, among other things, endorses “chaste, monogamous and lifelong” same-sex relationships. To the media, I’m sure that sounds quite friendly. Now, let’s look at that statement in the context of what the Christian church has confessed for thousands of years on the basis of Scripture. What the church has taught about sexual relations is that God created man and woman to live together as man and wife in a chaste, monogamous and life-long relationship. This is for our own good, for the procreation of children, for the intimacy of man and wife, etc. The church has taught that sex outside of this arrangement is sinful and that deviation from this natural order is a consequence of the fall into sin. And the church proclaims the forgiveness of sins to all of us who sin sexually.

Now, I know that many (all?) of the mainstream media believe with their heart, mind and soul in the inherent goodness of homosexuality and badness of the church’s teaching that homosexuality is not what God wants for us. But let’s just go with a thought experiment.

Pick something else that Scriptures teach is a deviation from God’s will. Anything will do, really, but let’s take an easy one from the Ten Commandments — “lying.” .... [L]et’s imagine that one church body endorses lying. And now let’s imagine that another church body takes the position that lying falls short of how God wants us to behave. This second church body has a doctrine against lying, its pastors preach against it and its publishing house has devotionals on lying. This second church body also has a doctrine on the forgiveness of sins — including lying. This second church body has pastors that absolve parishioners who confess that they are liars. Its pastors preach that sin is forgiven in Jesus Christ and it administers the sacrament of Holy Communion that, among other things, offers forgiveness of sins to liars.

Now which church body is liar-friendly? Some (be they liars or not) would much rather have a church in which lying is condemned — and forgiven — then one where they are told lying is A-OK and nothing to feel guilty about. Some would believe the second church to be infinitely more friendly. What’s more, some would feel that the church that embraced lying didn’t have liars’ best interests at heart. Some would feel that a church that embraced lying wasn’t friendly to liars at all and that what liars need is to have their sin clearly identified and forgiven.

So is it the job of the mainstream reporter to decide that one of the above churches is friendly and the other not? Or is that a theological issue that is too complex to be trivialized? Should it be any different if the churches are discussing sexual morality? [more]
Why can’t we be friends? » GetReligion

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