Scripture influenced the tradition of keeping other human beings in slavery until reason - usually through experience - began to turn our hearts and our minds away from that heinous and dehumanizing practice. In retrospect, it seems almost impossible to think that God ever had any intentions of any part of humanity owning any other part.
Scripture influenced the tradition of keeping women “in their place” of being subservient to men and without authority in faith communities as well as in secular society. Again, reason through experience turned hearts and minds away from a system that rendered women as less than men, despite the fact that in creation God created both male and female in God’s image.
Scripture influenced by tradition was also the basis for denying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people of faith a place at God’s table that was equal to all others. Yet again, at least for a growing segment of Christ’s Body, reason influenced by experience taught us that there is no sound theological basis for creating outcasts of any of God’s children.
It was the misuse of Scripture in this case, as before, that allowed some to perpetuate the concept that there have been different classes of sinful behavior that could be used to create divisions among God’s children. Removing passages of Scripture from the context of the culture in which they were written and from the context of the entire narrative of which they are an integral part, continues to provide ways for us to divide ourselves from one another and from God through the mistaken notion that God created some of us more acceptable than others of us. Do we truly believe that God created some of us “more equal” than others?
I am always amazed at how those “learned in Scripture” can continue to perpetuate a system that discriminates in the name of God. Duly ordained clergy have told me with certainty that they and their congregations welcome “all” fully, even LGBT folks. Yet when they then tell me with their next breath that they will neither perform nor permit the marriage of a same gender couple AND base that decision on “Scripture, tradition, and reason,” I am forced to both scratch my head and shake my head in disbelief. Yet…..such continues to happen….and it happens in too many dioceses of our church and even in congregations in dioceses where full inclusion is the norm. Apparently the “glass wall” they place between the altar and the pastoral needs of their LGBT members is too clear for even them to see.
My “broken record” continues to play: Is there still a need for the ministry of Integrity? Read the above again and I think your answer will be a resounding “Yes!!!”
Bruce Garner, President