Saturday, December 22, 2007

From the Bottom of the Pit

>>>Remember, my "Darwinist hat" statements are NOT what I myself believe, but an application of my friend's reasoning!<<<
Continuing the discussion with my sincere, polite, online friend--
poster "Ashpenaz" offered a contorted argument, relying on alleged scientific discoveries to redefine the word "eunuch." I replied:
In spite of our mutual concern for the poor, I really doubt whether you believe in [the judgment of individuals and their sins], Ashpenaz. You said:
'Everything is permissible" and "Love is the fulfillment of the law." We each have to work out our own salvation by determining what our conscience tells us is the loving thing to do.'
Meaning everything, or practically everything, is permissible if you can rationalize it as "love." This tosses out everything Jesus and the Old Testament say about sexuality and poverty if you are creative enough, I mean "sincere enough" before your own unique conscience. Let me put my Darwinist hat back on and posit: I help the poor by advocating natural selection. Since many people "make it" in spite of poverty, those are the ones with good genes. They'll live, the rest will starve, and in the future all poor people will make it and be tough. So my neglect actually helps the poor. If I am sincere enough about this, will God let me into Heaven?They didn't understand Darwinism back then, either, so just like "eunuch" means what your argument from ignorance might suggest (an interesting argument, really, though I disagree) so the means of helping the poor in the 21st century must take on a global, evolutionary perspective. In the end we all win: My Darwinist alter ego needn't feel guilty, and the poor get better as quickly as Darwinism will make them tough and resilient. Builds character along the way, really!
Posted by: Witness for Peace December 21, 2007 3:06 PM

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Saved by Strong's Concordance

In response to:

P.S. My definition of a eunuchcomes straight from Strong's concordance and Vine's dictionary--look it up.
Posted by: Ashpenaz December 20, 2007 1:33 AM

That settles it:
"A castrated person (such being employed in Oriental bed-chambers)
by extension an impotent or unmarried man;
by implication a chamberlain (state-officer); eunuch.
Thanks for clarifying this. Strong’s says nothing whatsoever about homosexuals. God loves homosexuals so much that they are protected by the same good laws from God as everyone else, including Jesus’ ringing affirmation of Old Testament law (not even the smallest stroke will pass away), and his definition of marriage as a man leaving his father and mother and being joined to his wife. (Note that there is nothing generic anywhere in Matt. 19:5; the husband doesn’t leave his "parents" or just his father, but his father and mother.)
The relevance to poverty is this: those seeking to neglect almsgiving quote "The poor you will always have with you" as if that is anything other than the CONSEQUENCE of our sinful neglect.
Those seeking to accommodate the Bible to modern lifestyle choices apply their imagination to selected OT and NT passages.
Our choice is clear, but extremely difficult. Poverty is a huge, seemingly intractable problem, and chastity is not a simple matter for anyone, whatever their circumstances. But God’s grace is abundantly available to all. In it, I bless you and pray God’s best for all who read this.
(And see my comment above about "warm fuzzies")

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wait, wait it gets even better

Ashpenaz came up with some more creative twists of his gay theology[see post about King David below], including the unwarranted substitution of "homosexual" for "eunuch" in one of Jesus' sayings. My considered reply:
Ashpenaz, my friend: This is a discussion of helping the poor not about gay theology. But if the Bible isn’t true, if the Ten Commandments aren’t for today, why should we help the poor? If our science teachers get it right, the only logical conclusion is that the unfit and the poor are a drag on our evolutionary progress. Only if the Bible is true does each individual have value. If with perfectly pure scientific motives, I do triage on a global scale, who are you to judge me and my pals the Darwinists? On what basis? You can only judge if you believe in the one Jesus of Scripture, not the 6 billion personal Jesus’s that liberal Episcopalians such as yourself offer us. "I’m right, you’re right, we’re all right" and the poor die. But no, Mother Theresa and the Bible are right. That godly lady continued to obey the Bible even though she didn’t get the warm fuzzies we expect when we invite a lonely neighbor over for Christmas. I am humbled by the thought of my sister in Christ, now at the feet of the historical, biblical, flesh and blood Jesus she served so well.
And I admit it: I still want a few of the warm fuzzies. I’m weak, really weak…………
I posted the above, and then prepared this comeback:
You’ve garbled something Jesus said about eunuchs into a loophole that fits your purposes. Why can’t I garble "The poor you always have with you" into an excuse for inaction? The same Jesus that said plainly that marriage is between a man and a woman tells me to serve the poor. He calls me to obey him, even when I don’t feel like it. I’m sorry and without a good explanation as to why some people have a harder time with these two teachings of Jesus than others do. Why are there poor people in the first place? Why not manna every morning? Why can’t every boy grow up with a loving affirming father, committed for life to a godly woman? I don’t know. There is pain, sorrow and sin. But I will not twist Jesus’ words to make it easier on me, or you, or the rich people in that huge air conditioned house across the street with one SUV, one sports car, and who never seem to walk to any of the little shops around here. Jesus calls each of us to follow him. I don’t know their story, and I don’t really know yours. But I know that Jesus said about the law, and I lovingly invite you to follow that Jesus. To the cross, and to wholeness.

"The fellowship of the Beatitudes is the fellowship of the crucified" Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyr and signer of the Theological Declaration of Barmen.

Was King David a homosexual?
An online friend made the assertion in the title, and then said this as further justification
"Everything is permissible" and "Love is the fulfillment of the law." We each have to work out our own salvation by determining what our conscience tells us is the loving thing to do. If you still believe in law, then you are among the foolish Galatians.
Lack of compassion for the poor, the sick, the homeless, the undocumented, and the gay is all the same lack of compassion--trying to impose a dead legalism where the law of love should be the foundation for our actions.

I wrote:
The law is not the means of righteousness, but it is still the measure, for it is not subjective and arbitrary like your utterly sentimental appeal to what you call "love." Love is the FULFILLMENT of the law. If you love someone, you WILL see their need and meet it. Whatever you feel like, whatever your motivation or lack thereof.
If my motives are good, and I still ignore the poor, does that get me off the hook? Of course not. If I have withheld wages, I am stealing. Even if I really, truly think ten cents an hour is all I can afford. Who says I’m not sincere? You can’t know my motives, nor I yours. But you can see my actions and judge rightly. Jesus said we are to judge all people the same, i.e. according to revelation, not our personal, internal, inaccessible whims.
Your appeal to Galatians ? 14When I [Paul] saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
Peter was accommodating the Judiazers, who compelled circumcision and ritual observance of the law. These are the parts of the law which have been fulfilled. As for the rest—the shameless adultery and other breaking of the Ten Commandments you falsely accuse David, Jonathan, and Ruth and Naomi of—not one jot or tittle will pass away. You quote King Saul as your authority: here is exactly the one who does as he pleases, offering sacrifices from a sincere, well-intentioned impatience. Later he claims to "love" David, then tries to murder him. The Law judges King Saul, the Law judges me, the Law judges us all. Without throwing ourselves on Christ’s mercy we all are lost. The standard has ever, only been this: are we as perfect as Jesus? Are you? I know I’m not. I rely on his perfect fulfillment of every part of the law as my only salvation. My motives are nothing. My sentimental appeals to "love" and pity are nothing. Jesus, as revealed in the Scriptures, is everything, my righteousness, my holiness, my redemption.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

From a thread discussing Philip Pullman

Since no one reads my blog, I've become addicted to beliefnet.
But I really like this response to a defense of Philip Pullman and the Anglican Bishop Spong, spiced with the bald assertion that Aquinas recanted on his deathbed by referring to "Summa Theologica" as "works of straw"

None of us here at Beliefnet can predict one another's fate before the Throne of God. I, for one, have no wish to be such a judge.
. On the other hand, we can and must judge statements of humans against what God has said. When one says vaguer and vaguer things about God, and vehemently(though eloquently and politely, as Ashpenaz and perhaps even Spong have done), it seems to me and many others that they have moved beyond the God of the Bible, revealed uniquely and definitively in Jesus, and are creating one of their own devising. As Pullman clearly has done in his book-promoting deception["The Golden Compass" movie.] Enjoy it if you wish, but beware! Violence exerted on behalf of individualism is indeed the only response available in the world he has created, devoid of God and good.
"Christian" can mean "one who self-identifies with the mass of Christians as a whole" or one who, forsaking all others, is following the Jesus depicted in the Scriptures the Church has recognized through the ages. From postings here, it seems to this weak and fallible soul that Spong and the poster screenamed Ashpenaz are the former but not the latter. If Ashpenaz is the equally polite poster who is defending the Mormon golden tablets under the "Mitt Romney speech" thread,
add that to my dossier of evidence. Which I submit with my own nod to humility, much as Aquinas did in dismissing--but not really--his Summa as "straw."