Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, May 27, 2016

Don't try this at home! Leave it to the professionals....

That light might be for you; doesn't mean it's for everybody.

When I first heard about this:

The breakdown of the appropriations process started earlier in the day when Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.) opened the weekly GOP conference meeting with a prayer about the LGBT issue, prior to the vote.

He read a passage from the Bible and questioned whether members would violate their religious principles if they supported the bill.

Moderate Republicans were stunned by Allen's remarks, and some walked out of the meeting in protest, according to GOP lawmakers.

"A good number of members were furious," said one Republican, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. "There was some Scripture that was read and the like. ... Nothing good was going to happen to those that supported [the LGBT provision]. A good number of members were furious."
I thought it was a fine object lesson in not using Scripture as a cudgel to beat people into agreeing with your way of thinking.  Then I found out what passages he was quoting:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:18-32)

Honestly, if you're gonna call down the wrath of God, ya gotta do it with the King James, amirite?

But, as usual, there's the "not-so-fast" part of this.  Let's continue with Romans 2:

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Yes, the left hand giveth, and the right hand taketh away.  You who judge, commit sins as surely as those you are judging.  Or, as the Catechism I learned put it: "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."  So maybe the best thing to do is not to quote Scripture at people in order to judge whether or not they are worthy of your approval?

But wait, you will say; he wasn't judging, he was just quoting Paul as part of the prayer to open the meeting.  Well, then, explain why he added this:

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelations 22:18-19)

I know it's a popular thing to use Scripture as a sword and shield, especially when you wield it with what you think is righteousness.  But Paul was writing to a specific audience, as was the author of the Apocalypse of John.  When you universalize their words you take them out of context and use them in the wrong context; indeed, as Paul warned, you use them to do precisely what Paul was warning against.  His diatribe in Romans is an attention grabber, not a laundry list of indictments of particular sins which are worse than others, or even that important.  He is describing chaos and disorder from a very particularly Roman perspective; there is a great deal about Roman mores in the 1st century that we would not countenance today.  Are we, then, more sinful because we don't live more like Romans did 2000 years ago?

Or is there more to it than just shouting words at people and antagonizing them with your judgment?


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