Ted Grimsrud, teaches Mcusa homosexuality, peace studies, ethics, and the Bible at Eastern Mennonite University. In the end he struggles with the role the church plays as both the institution that demands ethical behavior and the community that offers grace. These conversations remain as challenging and seemingly irresolvable as ever.
But they also remain as interesting as ever. And I keep learning as I engage in such conversations—about my own views and deep-seated values, about the dynamics of the conversation, and about the perspectives of
Mcusa homosexuality conversation partners especially those with whom I disagree. Certainly the conversations are complex and viewpoints are almost infinitely varied.
We all bring a mixture of motivations, ethical resources, political agendas, social locations, levels of education, personal experiences, and so much more. However, as a trained ethicist, my tendencies run toward Mcusa homosexuality to provide some kind of conceptual order in analyzing these conversations. This leads me to suggest various ordering categories—not heaven forbid!
The first set of categories I will use is meant to give us reasonably neutral terms for the two sides in the debate, focusing on issues centered in the churches. The degree of restrictiveness might vary greatly among different churches, but in all cases the basis for restriction is the gayness of the participants. In the conversations among Christians about the place of gay Christians in the churches, we may discern several different kinds of reasoning occurring, drawing in different ways on different ethical sources.
A simply way of beginning to separate out a few of these types of reasoning is to set the types of reasoning in a "Mcusa homosexuality." The other spectrum running up down would be a biblical authority spectrum that is, a spectrum tracking various views on the of the Bible in the ethical rationales that are put forth.
This simple chart shows us that some on the inclusive side operate with a high view of biblical authority and that some on the restrictive draw heavily on natural theology more than direct biblical texts.
Surely most who are involved in this conversation draw in various ways on both biblical texts and human experience. However, it is appropriate to Mcusa homosexuality people to be self-aware of what type of reasoning they are tending to use.
However, this simply is not the case. We have only a few documents that this position is based on. No rationale is given for the change in tone. This citation, without explanation, gives the impression that the CofF provides clear and direct teaching concerning homosexuality.
However, the actual CofF does not in fact even mention homosexuality. So, here again we have an example of theology by citation more than by exposition. The first text is Mark The second text is 1 Corinthians 7: That divorce and remarriage are in mind in the first sentence of Article 19 is made even clearer by the commentary on this Article.
The commentary which is also part of the CofF as Mcusa homosexuality adopted by the Mennonite Church USA speaks to the divorce issue and says nothing "Mcusa homosexuality" homosexuality.
At the same timethe church, as a reconciling and forgiving community, offers healing and new beginnings. The commentary softens the strictness of the CofF article and the two New Testament texts cited.
This comment does not spell out a more nuanced approach to divorce and remarriage, but it does seem to open the Mcusa homosexuality for such. One could easily draw from this commentary a basis for accepting divorced and remarried people as full members of Mennonite congregations which, of course, is in fact increasingly the practice.
The point, it would appear, is that the CofF makes
Mcusa homosexuality strong statement about the importance of Christian marriage, but implicitly allows for exceptions in the case of divorce and remarriage—exceptions that are not seen, in many contexts, to negate the theological affirmation of the marriage covenant as a life-long commitment.
Mcusa homosexuality such an approach also be applied to people in same-sex covenanted partnerships? This is what it says: First, they provide guidelines for the interpretation of Scripture. At the same time, the confession itself is subject to the authority of the Bible. Second, confessions of faith provide guidance for belief and practice.
In this connection, a written statement should support but not replace the lived witness of faith. Third, confessions build a foundation for unity within and among churches. Fourth, confessions offer an outline for instructing new
Mcusa homosexuality members and Mcusa homosexuality sharing information with inquirers.
Fifth, confessions give an updated interpretation of belief and practice in the midst of changing times. And sixth, confessions help in discussing Mennonite belief and practice with other Christians and people of other faiths. What do they say? Sex is good, we should
Mcusa homosexuality it; only if there is some other wrong involved Mcusa homosexuality this good thing
Mcusa homosexuality wrong.
The statements do not explain why these are wrong, presumably assuming that the rationale is self-evident. We "Mcusa homosexuality" have a pretty easy Mcusa homosexuality identifying the wrong in wife-battering, premarital sex, and extramarital sex.
It is understanding that this teaching also precludes premarital, extramarital, and genital activity.
We further understand Mcusa homosexuality Bible to teach the sanctity of the marriage covenant and that any violation of this covenant is sin. This is pretty cryptic. No texts are cited to illustrate this teaching. No clarity is offered concerning other elements of the physical and emotional elements of intimate partnerships.
The word itself is recent, and is a joining together of Greek and Latin roots. Neither biblical Hebrew nor biblical Greek has any words like this. The Bible is against Mcusa homosexuality, promiscuous sex that reflects idolatrous practices Romans 1.
The Bible is against unjust sexual practices that are economically driven 1 Corinthians 6. These are practices that are sinful for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. At least some
Mcusa homosexuality share this understanding would also believe that sexual intimacy that is acceptable for opposite sex partners would also implicitly be acceptable for same sex partners.
So, we need briefly to piece together the logic behind and the ramifications of this usage. Mark Thiessen Nation, for example, writes in Reasoning Togetherwrites directly about the goodness of morally appropriate sexual intimacy within the context of opposite-sex marriages. What might this mean? It would seem that what these writers must be saying is that all the various Mcusa homosexuality of sexual intimacy that might be practiced by same-sex couples fit into a single category for the purposes of moral discernment.
So, when we turn to the Bible, we do not need to concern ourselves with the specific context or type of behavior our several direct texts speak to. We may identify two ramifications from this logic. They may well think that texts, when read in context, actually are proscribing specific practices for men all the direct texts that clearly link behavior with gender refer to men [vii] that would be equally sinful for same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
As it stands, it is pretty cryptic. What would such a confession entail? What "Mcusa homosexuality" those problems be? These two points obviously stand in tension with one another. We could reject the possibility some people having a fundamental attraction toward people of the same sex. Probably we will have to follow at least one
Mcusa homosexuality these possibilities. Many of us already have.
At the heart of Mcusa homosexuality message, especially as inferred in the Membership Guidelines, is a reassertion of the basic unquestioned assumption that characterizes much of the discussion on the homosexuality issue in general: Interestingly, though, when we consider ways the logic of the position on homosexual practice actually works, we see that the Bible may not actually play as central a role as is generally assumed.
But this is how the logic seems to Why does the church say this? It is impossible Mcusa homosexuality say for sure. All we seem to have are assumptions. Once we are in the realm of human experience many other kinds of questions arise. How objective is general revelation? How well does general revelation work as the basis for specific moral regulations? The main point of the questions in the previous two paragraphs is to add to the challenge of the debates about proper interpretation of the direct texts.
What seems clear in face of all Mcusa homosexuality questions is that the only way through the current struggles in the Mennonite churches and Brethren churches, and beyond is the difficult on-going process of open community conversation and discernment. He is the author of a forthcoming book on the moral legacy of World War II and blogs
Mcusa homosexuality thinkingpacifism.
See his collected writings at peacetheology. We can easily enter into an interminable process of defining terms and never get beyond those
Mcusa homosexuality. However, the vast majority of writing on this topic tends to Mcusa homosexuality to the other extreme and use complicated terms without definition. What I will try to do in this paper is define the terms I will be using without devoting much energy to defending those definitions.
Right away we face the issue of our overall rubric. I would submit, though, that the Bible never uses its allusions to creation to make this kind of statement. In preparation for the merger, the two merging denominations had jointly created the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, which was adopted in They had been created cooperatively by the two denominations. But I think one of the reasons I have shied away from offering this sort of detailed discussion of all the passages is because, in some ways, I think it is a diversion.
I tend to think we would get farther if we simply stipulated that the Bible says homosexual practice is wrong. Herald Press, ], A Historical Perspective Minneapolis: This passage reads NRSV: Men exchanged shameless acts with men …. It could be either. A Working Document for Study and Dialogue MCUSA officially considers homosexual activity as a sin and defines marriage as a union a man and a woman.
Several pastors have. The Mennonite Church USA officially classifies homosexuality as sin and officially defines marriage as being between one man and one.
(RNS) A year ago, the Mennonite Church USA one of many Christian “It's about homosexuality, but it's about a polity of governance that.