Thursday, May 13, 2021

Diverse-and-Deeply-Held Convictions

Last week, Saddleback Church ordained women pastors for the first time. It’s obviously a step in the right direction. While many of us are muttering “it’s about time,” fundamentalist friends lament that Saddleback is caving to the culture. Churches that still do not ordain women all say that they are just following “what the bible says.” The problem (for these churches) is that the bible speaks with different voices when it comes to gender and sexuality. Every patriarchal “women must be quiet and submissive” is countered with a prophetic “there is no longer male or female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” 
What I want to know is (A.) what took Saddleback so long, (B.) why now and (C.) if they are ordaining women, why not LGBTQA+ folx too? I’m pretty sure the answer to A, B and C is “because the bible.” But here’s the thing that us Christians must confess: the bible itself contains diverse-and-deeply held convictions and we all bring our own diverse-and-deeply held convictions to the bible. The cringe-worthy colonizing history of Christianity, especially on this continent, has taught us that powerful people consistently bring their prejudice and patriarchy to the sacred text—and then justify it by finding it somewhere on its pages. People are perpetually prone to use the bible like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support instead of illumination. Christianity desperately needs accountability. Love must be our litmus test.

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