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May 19, 2014

Enlightenment in a Podcast

My baby girl had her first dance recital this weekend. This is also my Sammy's last week of kindergarten.  And I'll share those photos and chronicle my raving-reeling-mommy emotions about all that very soon (those 6 of you who read can rest easy).
But today there is something else I need to share.
A month or two ago I discovered podcasts.  (Yes.  I realize I'm a bit late to the game on this one, but hey, I'd rather read a good book than play on my phone, so I blame...books.  Yeah.  Let's go with that.) 
Some work day mornings while I'm getting ready, I catch up on podcast sermons from two former pastors of mine, Derik Hines and Ryan Gear.  They have both moved out of state, and I have missed them and their crazy awesome preaching and teaching skills so very much in the years since.  
These men have different preaching styles, both of which are effective because, at their cores, they both seek and preach the truth, they respect doubts and questions, they guide and teach God's word with wisdom and strength of faith and honesty and humor and intellect and gentleness and love. 
These two are disciples covered in the dust of their Rabbi. 
This morning I listened to a sermon Ryan gave called What Does the Bible Really Teach about Slavery and Sexuality?  It is such a necessary message that took courage and conviction to preach, because it's a polarizing subject in so many of our lives and our families and within ourselves. 
It may not change your mind.  It may piss you off.  It may open your mind.  It may close it.  It may make you look at the Bible and Christianity in a whole new light. But whatever it may or may not do, please give it a chance to do something....and listen to it.  
I think his message conveys wisdom.  It takes these verses that Christians quote when referring to homosexuality and shines a contextual light on them in a very scholarly and thoughtful way. 
It's enlightening. 
I have never viewed homosexuality as a sin.  Through the years I have read these same passages in the Bible and have been challenged and confounded by them, not able to figure out what they are doing there or how to make them fit into my faith in Jesus' love.  But I continued to try because how can I be expected to explain and defend my faith if I just ignore the parts I don't like?  
So I read them again.  And again.  The images they invoke to me are ones of depravity, of pedophiles and degradation and the very depths of perversion and wickedness.  No where was the love between two women or two men addressed.  Just various lewd sexual and other nasty human behaviors. 
And people, that's not what being gay is. 
It's just two normal blokes falling in love and wanting to make a life together.  Just the same as the rest of us. 
I had in mind to write a much more expansive post about this, quoting verses and different interpretations, that Jesus never mentions homosexuality, that certain verses say slavery is ok but being gay is not, that we can (thank god) dismiss the Bible's slavery edicts in today's society without (much) debate but so many continue to hold onto the homosexual verses...
But Ryan writes it much better, with much sounder and scholarly authority than I could ever muster.  So go to his blog and read what he has to say.  There's wisdom and love and honest genuine faith to be found there. 

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