Wednesday, November 02, 2005

... Okay, but how do you FEEL?

Erin read my post from yesterday and said, "I'm disappointed in your blog today."
Now, Erin has used a lot of words to describe her reaction to my blog, but "disappointed" was a new one. I therefore asked her to explain.

She said, "That blog entry does not really reflect your true feelings. I saw you yesterday, I talked with you, I know how you feel about these decisions, and you just didn't show it in that blog."

As usual, Erin was right. My entry yesterday was a pathetic attempt at levity, which I was using as a defense mechanism to mask my emotional reaction. Jackie Thomas, my CPE instructor, would not be very happy with me, either. She was always pushing me to express my emotional responses, trying to dig into the shallow facade of "I-have-it-all-together-ness" that I always try to project. And yesterday, I definitely did not have it all together.

To use a trite cliche, my heart is broken. Yesterday, I was convicted of my sin - namely, thinking of homosexuality as an issue that we can somehow discuss and dialogue in order to resolve or not. It is not just an issue that we can get tired of talking about and let drop somewhere. I know now that it is not an issue among issues. It defies comparison to other issues - i.e. slavery, idolatry, hot buttered corn on the cob. It is much more.

The United Methodist Judicial Council decisions of yesterday represent systemic devaluing of people based on arbitrary criteria set by the powerful.

Here it is again:
...systemic devaluing of people based on arbitrary criteria set by the powerful.

I spent a lot of time wrestling with God to come up with that sentence, and I will defend every single word in it.

The term that is likely to cause the most stir is "arbitrary criteria," so I'll just go ahead and take that one on now. "It is not arbitrary, it is the Bible, and if you disagree with me, you are denying the authority of the Bible," is how the argument goes. We have heard it many times before. The problem is, in the "pick and choose" method of naming sins, there is no pattern. There is no discernable method by which the "practice" of same gender sexual contact has been elevated above any of the others on the S list - lawsuits, divorce, not selling all your possessions and giving the money to the poor, etc.
And furthermore, while the Bible is clearly talking about same gender sexual contact, it is most often talking about elevating one's desire for sex above one's desire for God. Either that or child abuse, gang rape, or other "shameful and degrading" sex acts. It is simply not referring to two grown people who are in love with each other expressing their love sexually. Reading every single word of the authoritative Hebrew and Greek texts very closely and delving deeply into the meaning of every line of the text has convinced me of that.

So yes, I am sticking with "arbitrary criteria," and I will until someone convinces me of my error. The United Methodist Judicial Council decisions of yesterday represent systemic devaluing of people based on arbitrary criteria set by the powerful.

I am sorry that I did not emote yesterday. I was trying to put up that mask of levity and I-have-it-all-together-ness. Sometimes I wish I had some of my brother's raw, in your face emotive capacity. But just a little bit. (He scares me sometimes ;) But now I can say, my heart is broken about these decisions. I know that I am not alone, either. And for those of you reading this whose hearts with mine have been smacked around for way to long, please help me. Please help me discern a fitting way to speak the truth in love so that God's will might be done on earth, as it is in heaven. I don't know what's next. So please help me to know. Please God.


Seamhead said...

That's more like it Andy. The three part series telling me I was an ideolouge wasn't very revealing. I've always valued my own views over others, rightly or wrongly. However, I have put some effort and thought and prayer into those views. What I know is that 'devaluing people based on arbitrary critera' is against everything American and Christian that I have ever learned. It makes me angry. And sad.

EyeRytStuf said...
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EyeRytStuf said...
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Anonymous said...

I read your previous entry earlier this evening, and despite being at a friend's house, I had to comment.

Then I thought more about it on the way home, and thought I should add a thing or two (mostly sarcastic stuff like, "Yes, what the Civil Rights movement needed was to know when everyone was tired of talking about it, and to just sit down and stay in it's place.").

Then, through the use of some crazy wormhole, you put this post up (it says you did this at 10:07 this morning, which means either I blacked out for a long time or you are having time-posting issues. Occam's Razor demands I stick with the latter.

So I'm sad for your heart, and I don't want to say all my sarcastic angry things now.

If my ignorant understanding of quantum physics is correct, there's a lot of quantum realities for us to choose from where in the future your heart's pain has helped lead to a time where lots of people aren't feeling so worthless.

Does that help any?

I don't blame you if it doesn't. I haven't found my lame understanding (which is to say a movie-level understanding) of quantum physics has never brought me a lot of comfort.

Well, thanks for caring, anyway. It means something to those of us who know.


DogBlogger said...

I don't have any suggestions right now, Andy, except that I want to share a prophetic quote that Keith Taylor posted over on Beth Quick's blog, and I wish for every UM paying attention to Judicial Council rulings to meditate on it:

"And what can hurt the Methodists, so called, but the Methodists? Only let them not fight one another, let not brother lift up sword against brother, and 'no weapon formed against them shall prosper.'" -- John Wesley, May 29, 1764

Kevin Shelton said...

My heart is broken too, Andy. All I can pray is that we not remain silent... that we always keep the conversation alive, even if others would kill it.

I stand with you on the arbitrariness of the decisions that shoot people down.

Dusty Leggs said...

We have two essential problems here. The first is that we as humans have made church into a club with memberships and dues. It is a concept that is never found in the bible, and it is horribly offensive to me. Second Jesus bled and died that sinners might have life. I am a sinner, the guy who was rejected was a sinner. We are the same. At no point do the red letters say "Go, wash behind your ears. Clean your mind of all impurity. Become perfect, then come and hang with me." On the contrary, he loved hookers, and thievs, ate with liars, and con artists, and even if I dare say it loves homosexuals.
My heart goes out to that man, but it also goes out to the church and pastors who believe they 'get it'. Because they just don't. Matthew 25:41-45 41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Erin! And I'm sorry, Andy, that you got my wanting-to-look-altogetherness. And I am so pleased that you have seen some value in your brother's way of approaching life. It does have some merit. cb

Stephen said...

A verse for you throughout this:
Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I think blood has been spilled, too many people spewing garbage from all camps. Yet it is probably good to get it out there, express your feelings, but then we (and I do mean WE) have to work towards some form of reconciliation. God have mercy upon all of us if we do not continue to pray, to talk, to try, and to try harder.


Brad said...

I DO kick ass!! Brother I wish I had your clarity of mind and levity in situations like this. I just react and leave it. But the truth is, I was pissed. I've always been proud of being a United Methodist. This week I am ashamed, they took something away from me and, more importantly, from that person.

kicking ass, little bro

EyeRytStuf said...

Andy, are you familiar with the Shower of Stoles? Just curious.

Andy B. said...

Dear Eye,
Yes, I know about this powerful undertaking. But I did not know they had a website. Check it out:
Thanks for the reminder.
- AB