arnheimsdomain: (globe)
[personal profile] arnheimsdomain
Quite literally, that was the subject of our morning church service and I'm both impressed and proud of what I heard from the pulpit (Actually we don't use the pulpit, the rev stands at the front of the altar dais and uses a lapel mike, which I prefer myself) .

The notes for the service were: "God has made male and female and affirms us as good. How do we regard those whose sexuality is different from our own? What is the place of marriage?"

The message was one of compassion and acceptance, that the Word is for everyone, not just the ones in this or that pigeonhole, that we sin against one another when we objectify and commodify each other, disrespect or abuse one another, not because we are gay or aren't married or have been divorced. That message, that we might not be evil because we were sexual, or because we don't tick box A, was personally very comforting and politically very refreshing.

Our readings were
Gen 1: 26-27
1 Cor 6: 12-20
John 4: 1-26

Points our Minister drew from these included:

that the church should not be afraid to talk about sex and sexuality, on the contrary, it was the church's business to talk about how we treat one another and think about ourselves;
that 'God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness"... in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them' (TNIV);
that God made us sexual, not merely procreative; that (though we know nothing of his own sexuality) Christ was a man and thus at the very least was probably looked on with desire by both men and women and that, being fully man, we should not assume that he was somehow asexual;
that relationships in & outside of marriage, both heterosexual and homosexual, can be objectifying, destructive or abusive or they can be committed, respectful and caring; that one cannot categorise a person as sinful or impure because of their sexuality or marital status, since we all sin and it is the act not the status which is sinful;
that perhaps what drew comment from Christ about the Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well was why she needed to continually seek her happiness from relationships, rather than the fact she was divorced or living out of wedlock;
that Paul's straightforward condemnation of joining yourself to prostitutes could mean a whole range of things about the practice of temple prostitution at the time, and speaks to us today about losing oneself to sex addiction or the commodification and abuse of sex workers, but could not simply be interpreted as a timeless commandment that prostitutes are bad people;
that society is very efficient at using sex and sexuality to oppress people for the purposes of making money,

And, amazingly, lots more...

I understand there are churches out there where the preachers spend a lot of time telling people that homosexuality offends God and teenage mothers should be institutionalised, rather than telling them God's love is unconditional and that Christ came to those rejected by society rather than to the respectable. I am very pleased not to attend one.

Parting thought: I just noticed the footnote in Today's New International Version:
John 4:21 "Woman," [b] Jesus replied, "believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem... a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.
[b] The Greek for 'Woman' does not denote any disrespect.

How alarming that people might need to be reassured that Christ didn't call someone 'woman' as a dismissive term.


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