Yoga for Beginners Guide to Salvation (Everything you need to know about Yoga in the 21st century)
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Those deemed not right enough, not clean enough, not normal enough, not theologically correct, enough. This is the gospel of Grace.
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There is no one out of reach of His grace and love. Second-class citizens belong. Outsiders belong. Despised, cast-out, refugee, immigrant, uncelebrated, oppressed, all find their place at this party. This is reconciliation. Point 2: Proximity Matters. God taking the very nature of a servant, he was despised and rejected. A man of sorrows. One of the reasons I love Christ so much. And so we make up what they are like in our heads. Jesus responded emotionally. He was moved. Is this a day to save life or to destroy it? He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts.
He may not make himself ceremonially unclean even for his father or mother. Jesus knew what life would be like for this widow, he husband gone, her last child, gone. These were societies built on families, and this woman had lost it all.
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When we come close to people, we are moved to compassion, and sometimes our hard lines drawn in the sand start to get a little fuzzy. We believe in the incarnated Christ, the one who came close, Immanuel, God with us. The one who wept, the suffering servant, the one who was moved to compassion, gut wrenching compassion. Look at her! This is the Jesus I love. Not only the man who is moved to compassion, but the one who challenges others to not turn away.
To look at people, their stories their humanity. Given the controversy surrounding the issue, they generally choose to accept the status quo in order to focus on matters that seem less fraught with peril. Our best friends from church tearfully tell us they are gay and have anguished over that fact for years.
So we look to our church leaders and see unbudging opposition of fear in the face of controversy, we begin to realise that we will have to go elsewhere for answers. As our friends are shown the door, we watch our pastors decline to open their hearts, privilege their careers and reputations over meaningful engagement with tears and trials of many whom we love the most.
Our leaders continue to preach about the self sacrificing love of Jesus, but their words ring more and more hollow in light of their actions. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. And I think this is hinting to the messier, non clear cut stuff in the world, that no doubt, if you have lived long enough, you know exists.
Look to the fruit. What is this fruit exactly? And who gets to decide whether it is good fruit or bad fruit? It was always written to a people who were oppressed, who were occupied, who were exiled, those who were on the outside of society.. I see families torn apart, I see christian parents no longer allowing their kids home to dinner.
I see the gay community with self harm, and suicide rates 4 times higher than the rest of the population. I see Christians who have never even met a gay person. I see division: Christians throwing out affirming Christians without even asking how we came to this position. We are just liberal. As someone who is in the minority as a follower of Christ in my community, I am not exaggerating - this is an accurate picture of what people view Christians to be.
Friends, this is NOT good fruit. Wherever you sit on the spectrum, and even if you hold the conservative position to the day you die, you have to admit, we are not doing; whatever it is we are doing, the right way. There is so much pain, so much hurt. This is not good fruit for any of us.
Point 4: Tackling the Scriptures. As I said, I am wrestling, I am still wrestling, the bible is not clear, and it never will be on MANY issues… because the purpose of these scriptures is to wrestle with God, to move closer to God, to speak to God when things rub us up the wrong way, and to ask the spirit to show us truth, to humanise us and to allow the Lord of compassion to give us eyes to see.
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I know people will read this and not be convinced. There is no neat bow here, it is messy, but I am convinced enough for now. Enough, to feel deeply convicted that I have brought so much sadness and hurt to this community, and that I repent of it, and am turning around. Two stories, remarkably similar, many scholars believe they are parrallel stories of the same event. Both involves gangs of men, wanting to violate. Both involve the offer of women as an alternative to the crowds asking for the men.
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In part this is a story about a Holy God and a wayward humanity at its very worst. These passages were once held as a story of the sin of homosexuality. Never once in these references to Sodom is their evil described as same-sex interest or behaviour. Genesis 19 and Judges 19 are narratives with huge implications for the ethics of war. Prison, gender, violence and rape. But they have nothing to do with the morality of a loving, covernental, same sex relationship, just as they have nothing to do with the morality of a loving, covenantal, opposite-sex relationship.
It has been written about again and again, that these passages are about rape and torture, not about same sex relationships. Including sex with blood relatives, broader family circle and menstruating women. Food is often connected with the concept.
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If we say that Christians may not accept all the the laws or the principles offered in the Old Testement, but are committed to believe in the core character of God as revealed there, such as the idea that God is holy and demands holiness, this is better. But this does not resolve the question of whether all same-sex relationships violate the character of a Holy God. Nor does it settle the question of whether divine holiness - at least the kind of holiness emphised in Leviticus - fits with the character of God as taught and embodied by Jesus Christ.
I am not going to say that I can get around the Leviticus passages, but I will say, when I read them in light of Jesus, in fact when you read the whole of Leviticus in light of Jesus, we have sifted out most of these laws, believing them obselete, along with the death penalty that was prescribed for each of the abominations. It is hard to single out this verse as an accurate way to exalt homosexuality to level it has been exalted to in the church. Paul writes to correct them and to remind them that salvation is offered by grace and yet does not offer an exemption from basic moral requirements.
He goes on to list 10 types of people who will not enter the Kingdom. In 1 Timothy, the passage falls in the middle of a discussion of Law and false teachers. With Paul saying that the law is intended for the Godless and giving 7 examples of such godlessness. Traditionalists believe that this is Paul drawing the Leviticus scriptures from the Septuigent into the New Testament. However, as the word is not found anywhere else scholars have had to figure out how to translate these words into English.
Certain groups within the church have used 1 Corinthians to say that all such people are just flat out excluded from heaven. Where ever you stand, you must accept that arsenokoitai is a contested word. It also needs to be known what Paul was thinking about when he was talking about if indeed he was talking about same-sex activity in the Greco-Roman world. Was he talking about consensual adult sex? Man-boy sexual abuse?
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Abuse of slaves? Scholar Michael Vasey observes that in Imperial Rome, same-sex activity was strongly associated with idolatary, slavery and social dominance, often the assertion of the strong over the bodies of the weak. Brownson, James V. It is NOT the same as a consensual loving relationship, two people seeking God together.
Nor is it the same as an abusive heterosexual relationship. I clearly, as a non scholar, reliant on others work to point me in the right direction, am in no position to convince you of this. Though we ALL have access to the greek, we have access to scholars if you are willing, and we have access to the Holy Spirit.
I ask you if there is any inkling that the Holy Spirit is asking you to look into this for yourself, please do.