This post may be best understood by those who claim to literally believe and interpret an inerrant Bible.
What I heard from Romans 1-8 prepared me to accept the call from the church to be part of a committee to listen to the concerns of gays and lesbians. We were asked not to judge and not to attempt to convert, but to listen only.
So, I listened to stories by gays and lesbians of their rejection by families and churches. I listened to their struggles to be straight. When they testified of their discovery of God’s love for them I believed them. They longed to be accepted by the church just as God had accepted them. If I had read only Romans 1: 18-31 I would have thought only of the wrath of God against homosexuality and would have quietly judged them.
Many prevailing sins are on that list of sins that make God angry, not simply sins of sex. Judging homeosexuals by heterosexuals appear to gays and lesbians to be unloving, unforgiving, and unmerciful.
A friend sent me an article on the nature of sin and the shame with which it reeks. It is worth reading Click here to go to it. Here again is my summary of the first eight chapters of Romans: Everyone has sinned, the law condemns everyone, everyone can be saved and though everyone struggles (to be perfect) everyone fails to be what they know they ought to be.
The author of Romans wrote to his protege: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Not past tense, was the chief, but present tense, am chief. (I Timothy 1:15)
In this era the Christian church continues to divide over sin and holiness. The testimony of the church is weakened and made less believable. A sermon by Sara Wenger Shenk may be found on her blog. One sentence sticks to me: She said, “Our church is being pulled apart because of wrongheaded ways of reading and interpreting the Bible.” To read the sermon click here.
The word of the week for me is “redintegrate”
That is my dream.What if Mennonite Church USA, Evana, Lancaster Conference et al, would be less wrongheaded in their interpretation of the Bible, be more loving, forgiving, and merciful toward each other, cease dividing and redintegrate?
Should any one judge?
Read Romans all and know that
all have fallen short