Vineyard Church (Ann Arbor, MI) pastor Ken Wilson reconsiders his evangelical church posture toward LGBT community in a book-lengthy reflection. Wilson wrestles with how to strike a “third way”, one that does not pledge full allegiance to either “love the sinner, hate the sin” (which means exclusion) and “open and affirming” (this is, “inclusion”, without total sanction and approval). Wilson, in each chapter, wrestles both with scriptural admonitions and the Holy Spirit. Though he is honest in affirming that aversion to “open and affirming” is based in large part the fear of being branded a “heretic” by evangelical cohorts.
Wilson addresses the biblical clobber passages fairly well, and attempts to bring to light the nuances of biblical culture and language that’s either glossed over or totally ignored by traditionalists on this matter. He’s not a biblical scholar but he cites the takes of various qualified scholars. Still, I thought the treatment was a tad incomplete, though a more comprehensive study would have bloated this, and transformed into something different than A Letter to My Congregation. Again, his approach is more aligned in arguing for a “third way”, to treat this matter as a “disputable”, not as a schism triggering agent, as seems to be in so many churches. I believe it a commendable act, and one likely to inflict derision from both sides, as what typically and tragically besets peacemakers in their quest.
A bit of the chapter content is redundant. And Wilson omits, or is just unaware, historical themes and truth that would buttress his “third way” case. Particularly, the whole Victorian model of marriage more representative of cultural mores of those peering in than actually reflected in the ancient texts. He touches upon this very briefly, but a stronger emphasis should be made about the patriarchal, misogynistic nature of not only ancient cultures, but of most of church history. That the sands of what constitutes marriage are shocking to modern sensibilities, including traditionalists who zero in on a narrow romanticized slice of history as a model for “the ages” to revere. Also, was disappointed not to see more pushback on biblical sexual ethics, from the work of bible scholars like Walter Wink and/or others.
But, on the whole, this a worthy, heartfelt account of Wilson wrestling with this issue and wanting to be true to the way of Jesus.
We of the post-Enlightenment Anglo-Saxon West are among the most earnest of givers. We are not, like our medieval Catholic ancestors, really proponents of the Crusade and the holy war against the heathen. We are at heart Protestant missionaries. We want to bring the good news and the benefits of civilization to the benighted of the earth. And if they don’t want it, then like good Protestant parents, and entirely for their own good of course, we must sternly make them accept it. Certainly we hoped to make good profits and attain political power in the process, but these were small prices that the benighted had to pay for the incomparable gifts we had to offer. Robin Fox ☀
I am inclined to call Graeber a ludic moralist. He dislikes the cold calculation associated with modern metal-based currency, and favors the playful reciprocity of informal credit systems. The problem is that currency allows for precise calculations where relationships gets cancelled out to zero. When payments are made in exact amounts, then transactions gets completed, and there is no further relation between the participants. Whereas, in traditional credit systems, when values were not represented in currency, there would always be some outstanding debt, and so relations would continue. So in this way it would seem that Greaber prefers debt to currency, though not when debts are calculated in currency. Review of “Debt: The First 5000 Years” by David Graeber ☀
…Dyson appears to criticize Cosby for hypocrisy. Cosby is critical of African-Americans who drop out of school or do not do well in school, when Cosby himself was not a good student and dropped out of high school; Cosby’s road to his doctorate was rather roundabout. Cosby was bemoaning alleged materialism within poor African-American communities, when Cosby himself has catered to materialism by appearing in numerous commercials. Is Bill Cosby Right? ☀
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