Thursday, January 20, 2011

it's been said

I've heard it said many times,
"Love the sinner, hate the sin".

This is one of those

bumper sticker theologies
reducing the life stories of people
to fragments,
sound bytes
and one dimensional stereotypes.

Love the sinner.

I've personally known some of the people
who have been labeled sinner by some
in this cultural, theological war
concerning homosexuality.

Love the sinner.
The definition of some are defining my...

family member,
baptized child of the church,
minister colleague.

Love the sinner.
The definition of some are defining our...
brothers, sisters, parents.

Love the sinner...
and yet even outside the debate over ordination standards
the church has failed
miserably so

in loving those
some so willingly define as sinner.

Oh you're welcome to our church it is said...
but the reality is this:

How many who define homosexuals as sinners
take the time
to sit with,

pray with,
eat with,
and listen to the full story
of the one they have defined as unrepentant.

If those who define homosexuals as sinners
and in the same breath say they love the sinner,
then how is that love being manifested?
How is that love offering hope and wholeness?

If some are going to condemn others
and define them as unrepentant

and say they are following in the steps of Christ
then there should be more evidence
of open hearts
rather than pointing fingers...

there should be more evidence
of open doors
than words and actions that push others away.

Love the sinner,
hate the sin.

It's a sin,
it is said.

And yet,
in a tradition such as ours
(Reformed and Presbyterian)
a tradition known for
studying, thinking, and writing...
one would expect we might
seriously consider the words of scholarship
offered up by those like
Jack Rogers.

I for one believe
you can't walk away from his words
without some amount of doubt
that what many say
the Bible says about homosexuality
in reality does not.

And in the presence of doubt...
black and white definitions

we have become so accustomed to in recent years
begin to crumble.

In my experience
the Presbyterian Church

has acknowledged
life and faith
is not easily boxed into black and white definitions.

I was taught....

even in the midst of the
conservative East Texas piney woods
faith is big enough
acknowledge and accept and celebrate
the variety of God's creation.

Love the sinner?
There hasn't been much evidence of this
in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Hate the sin?
There has been enough scholarship
to make room for new perspectives,
and affirmations.

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