yesterday morning, the theological wing of the twittersphere exploded when audio surfaced of rob bell affirming same sex marriage. while speaking at grace cathedral—an episcopal church in san francisco—he was directly asked about his stance on gay marriage and he offered the following response:
“I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”
truth is everywhere.
file this tweet in the category, “shots fired”. in this case, (whether it’s intentional or not) the shots flew in the direction of christianity. and, quite frankly, the shots are fair. (as well as this one, but that’s another post altogether.)
i have a good friend who forbids his elementary-aged child from attending his parents’ church. he’s spent quite a few years working through what he feels like was a deceptive religious upbringing. now a church leader himself, he doesn’t want his child to be exposed to beliefs in a church setting that he views not only as wrong, but as his experience has proven, hurtful.
simply put, he fears a process of deprogramming with his child.
though i absolutely understand his feelings, i’ve felt like he was a little too overbearing with his probhibition.
now, though, i’m moving toward his point-of-view.
for those who use twitter, you’re likely familiar with the following series: type a tweet, delete it; type it a different way, delete it; repeat these steps until you finally just give up. sometimes, you just know that however you say something in 140 characters, you’re not gonna adequately convey your feelings and/or you’re gonna do little more than just anger or offend people.
in an old testament class in seminary, we spent nearly two months talking through and studying just the first two chapters of genesis. seemingly straightforward, the multiple version of the story (yes, versions plural) told in those chapters are a poetic way to describe a complex history of all created things.
that class was the first time in my life that i began to get a clear understanding of the historical, cultural and literary context of the opening scenes of genesis.
simply put, it’s when it became ultimately clear to me that there is no possibility of a literal understanding of the creation story.
my humble little blog serves as a repository of snapshots of my life at any given time. i’m glad to have it. of course, the yin to that yang is that i’m also slightly horrified every so often when i look back and see something that i so strongly believed at a sepcific time and i, well, don’t so much now (to say the least). fortunately, it’s only on display for the few thousand unique visitors each month that stumble upon this blog.
i can’t imagine what it’s like to have spent 20+ years sharing my theologies and bearing my soul to hundreds of thousands (or millions?) of people. that’s exactly what derek webb has done since he began writing songs as a part of the grassroots christian band caedmon’s call and continued for nearly a decade as a solo artist. so does derek, like myself, ever look back with any contrition about past songs or specific lyrics.
ray rivera, pastor and founder of latino pastoral action center in the bronx, once told a story about a conversation he had with a midwestern pastor who insisted rivera was too political. so rivera asked, “pastor, tell me how your local schools are.” the pastor replied, “they’re top notch. some of the best in our state.” rivera continued, “tell me about your local hospitals.” “they’re excellent,” replied the pastor. “tell me about your libraries.” the pastor said, “our community is very proud of them.” rivera paused before responding, “pastor, in our community, our schools are failing, our hospitals are woefully behind and our libraries are full of hand-me-down books that are falling apart. because we love our neighbors, we’ve become their advocates for a better a community. if anything, we risk not being political enough.”