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Episcopal Church

Will gay Presbyterians lead?

True enough, but he does not condemn homosexuality per se, what he condemns is those christians who revert to pagan rituals, which included exploitative sexual practices. It seems to me that you are relying on a faulty translation here and you are wildly distorting the text of scripture. It's really very plain and clear. “…and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” That seems pretty clear. It's not hard to parse the words here. BUT IT IS IMPORTANT TO STICK WITH WHAT THE PASSAGE ACTUALLY SAYS AND NOT BRING IN YOUR OWN PREJUDICES TO LAYER ON TOP. It says: “The men likewise GAVE UP natural relations with women…” That pretty clearly says that these men were heterosexuals by nature. The phrase translated as “gave up” is the Greek word aphente (afenteV) meaning to leave behind, forsake, neglect, or divorce. Paul is talking about heterosexual individuals engaging in homosexual sex, which is contrary to their nature. Why would men do that? It's also clear that there are a number or men and a number of women involved here: both words used are plural. This would most definitely be an orgy, a classical form of "entertainmen t" frequently engaged in at the time: the Romans evidently held them like we would hold a dinner party. The bottom line is that when you try to isolate “natural relations” to declare homosexual relations unnatural you are inserting your own 20th century political opinion onto the text and reading entirely outside of context of what Paul was discussing. Even if we were to isolate that phrase it can only be used to condemn heterosexuals who go against their own heterosexual nature and engage in homosexual activity. Again, what does that have to do with the long-term, loving relationship between two of-age consenting adults who share an incontrovertible and innate sexual orientation? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. One of the things that concerns me about those who try to site these verses in support of an anti-homosexual agenda is that they are straining the scriptures in pursuit of an agenda that belittles and scapegoats a small minority of our society. This is in direct contravention of the main thrust of Jesus' message of love: the good news. Jesus very rarely lost his temper, but he seems to have done so regularly in cases where the Pharisees and Saducees (spelling?) tried to stretch scripture to the braking point with narrow and biased readings of the law as a way of excluding people from God's love. Even if you think my reading is wrong (and it is a very very clear and simple reading of the plain straightforward text of scripture), my reading does not exclude anyone from god's love and the sacraments of love and reconciliation. The way I read these verses is an adaptation of Occams razor: a simple and straightforward reading that supports loving and nurturing relationships is likely to be closer to the truth of our lord's message than would a more complex reading that excludes those loving relationships. Like I said before: the 'default setting' for Christianity is love, acceptance, inclusion, and grace. Anything that contravenes that 'default setting' must be rigorously justified in the plain text of scripture before it can be accepted by any true Christian. And what's more, the vast majority of contemporary theologians agree with my interpretation and outright reject your interpretations. It's as simple as that.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #143)

Episcopal Church

Will gay Presbyterians lead?

Gag-anon is not considered to be a reputable theologian today. I'm not sure you want to get me started on that guyActually, I would say that you are absolutely correct, but that it does not support your position, it supports my position. It very clearly does NOT condemn modern long-term loving homosexuality. It condemns exploitative pagan rituals. As I have already posted in a detailed explanation above. The simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of theologians are on my side of the interpretation of that citation and against your interpretation. You really do need to stop distorting and manipulating scripture to your own short term oppressive political agenda to persecute this small and relatively helpless minority.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #136)

Episcopal Church

Will gay Presbyterians lead?

She converted to the truth, didn't she? What more can one ask?  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #134)

Episcopal Church

Will gay Presbyterians lead?

Sorry. It's the simple fact that the reference is to pagan practices. Those are the actual plain straightforward sense of the words used by Paul. It's clear enough, read it for yourself. What's more, there were, indeed, what we would now term homosexual relationships at the time, and they were particularly esteemed in Greek society. There were very specific words in Greek to designate those activities. Paul chose not to use those words that would have been immediately recognized as refering to those (what we would now call) homosexual relationships. Instead, Paul chose to coin a new word which is a transliteration of a hebrew phrase which means pagan ritual practices. It's as simple and straightforward as that. That's not just my opinion, it's also the opinion of almost all of the theologians publishing on this subject today. The bottom line is that there is not a single verse in scripture which condemns homosexuality. There never has been, there never will be. Those who try to distort scripture to try to make up a condemnation are doing the same thing that those who tried to distort scripture to support slavery and segregation (for much the same reason).  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #132)

Episcopal Church

Will gay Presbyterians lead?

Absolutely!  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #131)

Episcopal Church

Lutherans weigh gay clergy issue

Wrong again. Homosexual was a word coined in the 19th century by a German psychologist. It has nothing to do with the Pagan practices discussed in Leviticus where the hebrew words clearly describe pagan ritualistic practices as "not jewish." Now, can we talk a bit about your hypocritical misapropriattion of this tiny portion of the cleanliness codes in Leviticus while you blithly ignore the rest of those codes? After all, if you are going to become a good 11th century BC Hebrew, you need to get busy with LOTS of the other laws that are stated there. For example, ever eaten pork or shellfish? Ever had relations (even the slightest touch) with your wife at any point within 10 days of her period? How about have you worn clothing made from more than one kind of fabric? If you have, and you persist in condemning someone for a part of those laws (even a gross misinterpretation of them such as yours) then you are a hypocrite. Jesus had bad things to say about hypocrites, you should know.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #14)

Episcopal Church

More on the Zen Episcopal Bishop

This web site tries to say that the two are incompatable religions. But, as I pointed out, because Zen does not posit a god, it is more a meditation technique and a method of spirituality, than it is a religion as we Christians define it. That said, Christianity has, often and throughout its hostory, adapted methods and symbols from other religions. Why should we not adapt, as Thomas Merton did with the Romans, Zen practices as a means of becoming closer to our god? Is it a practice I intend to use myself? No. Is it heretical to adapt a practice from another faith to meet the needs of modern Christian? No, far from it. You would (and are) pretty darned silly to suggest otherwise.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #12)

Episcopal Church

More on the Zen Episcopal Bishop

And Thomas Merton's use of the same techniques? That, too, is not acceptable in your book?  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #10)

Episcopal Church

Will gay Presbyterians lead?

Now, I have cited not one (as you requested) theologian, but nearly 70. I have also broken down the verses you incorrectly cited in scripture, corrected your specific reading AND provided a larger context. Your turn! Can you cite even one theologian or even one verse that, taken within the context of the larger scriptures in any way supports your point of view? Can you cite a reputable theologian writing today who takes your point of view (I'm afraid I and many others do not find Gag-anon to be a reputable theologian)? Can you make your message of hate fit the larger context of love in scripture and our lord's message of forgivness and acceptance? If you want to over-rule our lord's commandments to love and care for one another's legitimate pastoral needs, you need to produce some very hard evidence; if you want to over-rule the default setting of Christianity (love) with something else (hate) then you need to provide something stronger than a verse taken out of context and/or deliberately mistranslated from its true meaning. None of this wild extrapolations to convert a blessing into a curse or condemnation is acceptable; none of your habit of ignoring Jesus' overall message to subvert a tiny portion of something he said into a message of hate will answer the requirement. Those cheap tactics won't do the trick. If you expect your position to be justified, you need to come up with some justification that shows an explicit outright scriptural condemnation of homosexuality which is clear and explicit beyond even the slightest shaddow of a doubt. Your problem, of course, is that no such citation exists. It is simply not present.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #126)

Episcopal Church

Will gay Presbyterians lead?

OK, let's try this again. Evidently you are not following the discussion here and you need to be guided as a child. OK, so let's have a look at the citation word by word AND in the context of what has been written. You have already seen that no reputable theologian writing today takes your side. Let's have a closer look at exactly what modern theology has to say on the subject. Romans 1:27:“…and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” That seems pretty clear. It's not hard to parse the words here. But it is important to stick to what the passage actually says and not bring our own prejudices to layer on top. It says:“The men likewise GAVE UP natural relations with women…” To me, that pretty clearly implies that these men were heterosexuals by nature. The phrase translated as “gave up” is the Greek word aphente (afenteV) meaning to leave behind, forsake, neglect, or divorce. Paul is talking about heterosexual individuals engaging in homosexual sex, which is contrary to their nature. Why would men do that? It's also clear that there are a number or men and a number of women involved here: both words used are plural. This would most definitely be an orgy, a classical form of "entertainmen t" frequently engaged in at the time: the Romans evidently held them like we would hold a dinner party. The bottom line is that when you try to isolate “natural relations” to declare homosexual relations unnatural you are inserting your own 20th century political opinion onto the text and reading entirely outside of context of what Paul was discussing. Even if we were to isolate that phrase it could only be used to condemn heterosexuals who go against their own heterosexual nature and engage in homosexual activity. Again, what does that have to do with the long-term, loving relationship between two of-age consenting adults who share an incontrovertible and innate sexual orientation? Absolutely NOTHING. One of the things that concerns me about those such as you who try to site these verses in support of an anti-homosexual agenda is that they are straining the scriptures in pursuit of an agenda that belittles, scapegoats, and actively threatens a small and relatively helpless minority of our society. Most modern Christians agree that this is in direct contravention of the main thrust of Jesus' message of love: the good news. Jesus very rarely lost his temper, but he seems to have done so regularly in cases where the Pharisees and Saducees (spelling?) tried to stretch scripture to the braking point with narrow and biased readings of the law as a way of excluding people from God's love. Even if you think this reading is wrong (and it is a very very clear and simple reading of the plain straightforward text of scripture), this reading does not exclude anyone from god's love and the sacraments of love and reconciliation. The way modern theologians read these verses is an adaptation of Occams razor: a simple and straightforward reading that supports loving and nurturing relationships is likely to be closer to the truth of our lord's message than would a more complex reading that excludes those loving relationships. The 'default setting' for Christianity is love, acceptance, inclusion, and grace. Anything that contravenes that 'default setting' must be rigorously justified in the plain text of scripture before it can be accepted by any true Christian.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #125)

Episcopal Church

Will gay Presbyterians lead?

I remain concerned that a member of the Roman faith using a discussion forum for Episcopalians as a means of persecuting the church and a small minority is a serious lapse in personal integrity and represents a complete bankruptcy in philosophy and understanding. The fact remains that you have no answer to any of the scripturally based arguments I have made. You simply cling to your biggotted opinions and cast personal aspergions as a way of covering up the complete inadequacy of your argements. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. If you can't counter the arguments in a reasonable and rational and scriptural way, you need to give up.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #124)

Episcopal Church

Free dental clinic at local TEC Parish

It seems that caring for the least of us includes teeth in TEC.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #1)

Episcopal Church

Local TEC ministry sponsors 'Rise and Shine' fundraiser S...

TEC continues to feed the hungry and cloth the naked as our lord commanded.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #1)

Episcopal Church

Secessionist lies on aid to Africa are debunked (yet again)

One wonders why they bother to post these untruths when they are so easy to de-bunk. Of course, there are some who will believe anything rather than face the truth of TEC's orthodox catholic faithfulness to the word of god. Go figure.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #1)

Episcopal Church

TEC expands relationship with Anglicans in Sudan

http://sudan.angli can.org/conference .php In February 2009 Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul convened the first ever Bishops’ and Spouses’ Retreat for the bishops of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and their wives in Yei, Southern Sudan. The retreat was led by three visiting bishops: Bishop Frank Gray, retired Suffragan Bishop of Virginia, Lord George Carey of Clifton, retired Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi of the Church of Uganda.  (Mar 5, 2009 | post #1)

Q & A with bookguybaltmd

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Reader

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Baltimore, MD

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TV Hill

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Iggie's Pizza (and BYOB!), Peabody Conservatory, Balt Museum of Art, An Die Musik!

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Lots. Episcopal Church, Print Collectors, DC and Balt Runners, Poetry, BMA, dancing, Bridge groups.

When I'm Not on Topix:

See I belong to, favorite things and reading above.... I am also a good cook and LOVE to entertain. I'm just back from a year in Haiti.

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I have lots of opinions

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Car radio going to work AMs

Read This Book:

I try hard to read at least one book each day. It's difficult to recommend one in particular, but I do urge all to read sources for themselves.

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I have a wide variety of interests: Books, wine, art, music, travel, Bridge

On My Mind:

Myers-Briggs is ENTJ. Just getting back from almost a year in Haiti as a relief volunteer.

I Believe In:

I'm a life long Episcopalian (and especially proud of the Church recently). I wish I could say I am more active; although I attend nearly every day, I'm not much involved in "operations" or committees: just a "back-bencher" I guess. I have a wide variety of interests: Books (8, 000 at last count - and those are just the keepers!), wine (I collect and write about wine), art (I collect original etchings and visit galleries and museums frequently; my reviews are published with moderate frequency), music (especially opera); I enjoy travel (Paris twice a year, frequent trips in the US and abroad), and I play Bridge (poorly).