Wednesday, February 13, 2008
for the Bible tells me so
I saw this movie last week as part of the "It takes a Rainbow" conference on campus. The movie is SO good and features some of my favorite people like Bishop Gene Robinson and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The film features several families and how they came to terms with their gay children, especially in light of all that the Bible reportedly says about homosexuality.
In reality, the Bible doesn't say anything, ever about homosexuality. The concept, much less the language, of sexual orientation didn't exist when the biblical writers were writing. Leviticus says it is an abomination for a man to have sex with another man, but so is eating shrimp. I can't take that command very seriously in the age or refrigeration and food thermometers which ensure I'm not going get food poisoning. Paul talks about men having sex with other men, but not as part of a loving, egalitarian, committed relationships. He's talking about what happens in Greek temples and perhaps, imperial orgies. I'm against it in that context, too. Or when it's a one night hook-up or an abusive use of force over another person (which Paul also would have been familiar with.) Watch the movie to hear more about these kinds of understandings of the Bible.
For me the movie is a great celebration of the power and liberation which comes when friends and parents and spouses and people themselves are free to be honest about who they are. Each story is about someone moving from a life of shadows, condemnation, and brokenness into a life of joy, wholeness, and love. I think that's what the Gospel is all about. It's what I see Jesus inviting his followers into when he heals them, or when he invites a woman to sit with him like any other disciple, or when he "proclaims release to the captive." Even in Rebecca's story in the movie, there is hope and redemption. It all comes from being honest and embracing God's full acceptance of all of us. We are all beloved of God and there is great power and freedom in knowing that. That's what the Bible tells me.