Psalms and Proverbs reading Monday June 29

Today’s readings are Psalms 140 through 145, Psalm 155 (text below), and Proverb 30.

Psalm 155
Spoken by David when returning thanks to God, who had delivered him from the lion and the wolf and he had slain both of them
155 Praise the Lord, all ye nations; glorify Him, and bless His name:
2Who rescued the soul of His elect from the hands of death, and delivered His holy one from destruction:
3and saved me from the nets of Sheol, and my soul from the pit that cannot be fathomed.
4Because, ere my deliverance could go forth from before Him, I was well nigh rent in two pieces by two wild beasts.
5But He sent His angel, and shut up from me the gaping mouths, and rescued my life from destruction.
6My soul shall glorify Him and exalt Him, because of all His kindnesses which He hath done and will do unto me.

Homosexuality and the Church

First off, let me be clear that “Church” doesn’t mean the LDS Church, it means the entire body of the Christian church worldwide. Second, this has little to do with the recent Supreme Court decision relating to marriage in the United States, though that did prompt me to actually sit down and write this after intending to do so for a month. That case has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with legal standing in court. No, this has to do with a conversation that I had while playing golf about a month ago. I was paired up that day with a Baptist pastor from Texas. Educated fellow, PhD in Systematic Theology from a conservative seminary, he’s been a pastor for quite a while. He mentioned at one point in the round that he is not Southern Baptist because they’d become too conservative and he’d left over 20 years ago; we both remarked that they’d seemingly become more conservative since then. A few holes later, I asked him about the basic premise of this article, is the PCUSA still a Christian church? He stated that it was foolish to say that because it’s affirmation of the Creeds that makes one Christian (sorry LDS folks, using his definition we’re not Christians, though if we were to sit down and be honest with ourselves, we probably believe everything written in the Creeds, save a word or two). I asked his church/denomination position on homosexuality, he said they basically operated as “don’t ask don’t tell” but they were moving towards full inclusion. He said he expected most mainline churches to go this way in the next 25 years.
The really interesting part of the conversation, however, was when I asked him what his theological grounding was for moving towards full inclusion. Do I have an opinion on full inclusion? I sure do, if you know me, you know my opinion. The short answer is that he believes the answer lies in something that Mormons hold very dear, continuing revelation. What does the Bible say? It says that various this are against God’s law. This coming from the New Testament letters of Paul. I’ll say something about the Old Testament a bit later. But Paul talks about a few things, most of them relating to male prostitution and pederasty, not the more modern defintion of same-sex love. So, if the Bible gives no answer as to how to handle the present situation, then we come to the need to interpret God’s will and word for our present time. Modern, continuing revelation. His view, is that we have a number of LGBT folks who truly believe the Bible, so how do we integrate them into the church? He noted that in the Book of Acts (he didn’t say which chapter, I think Ch 15 fits the bill well), we see times when the early church was forced to determine how the Gentiles would fit into a previously Jewish tradition. How do they fit them in? They use a continuing revelation of God’s will to determine how the church should move forward. He believes that such should exist today.
Going back to the Old Testament passages, one can run into some trouble when trying to cite them for current Christian belief. For a person who cites the Old Testament, I’d simply ask why Christians do not keep Kosher? One of the more common arguments given by some is that God’s law never changes. Yet, right here with Kosher eating it has changed. I do suppose one could try to argue that Kosher was never a law in the first place, though that will be a difficult argument…unless they wanted to say that the entire set of laws in the Old Testament were not actually laws, in which case, the Old Testament is completely invalid anyway. But no, Kosher has changed. How and why? The most reasonable explanation comes from Acts 10 where Peter has his vision and is told, basically, that all food is clean. Yet, if Kosher was a law and this changes the Law, either this part of Acts needs to be stricken from the Bible because it’s an invalid change of God’s law or there must be some connection that allows for this change. I think the change comes from the passage in Mark where Jesus says that the law is fulfilled. That’s the connection. Otherwise, we Christians should probably go back to not lighting fires on the Sabbath, not driving, and following all 613 commandments from the Law of Moses. But we don’t do that because the law was fulfilled. Because of this, we are left with what the New Testement says about God’s love and nature.
So what we’re faced with today is the need to determine how folks who are otherwise true believers can fit into the church. How do we fit them in?

Psalms and Proverbs reading Monday June 22

Today’s readings are Psalms 104, 106, and 154 (text provided), and Proverb 24.

Psalm 154
Spoken by David when he was contending with the lion and the wolf which took a sheep from his flock

154 O God, O God, come to my aid; help Thou me and save me; deliver Thou my soul from the slayer.
2Shall I go down to Sheol by the mouth of the lion? or shall the wolf confound me?
3Was it not enough for them that they lay in wait for my father’s flock, and rent in pieces a sheep of my father’s drove, but they were wishing also to destroy my soul?
4Have pity, O Lord, and save Thy holy one from destruction; that he may rehearse Thy glories in all his times, and may praise Thy great name:
5when Thou hast delivered him from the hands of the destroying lion and of the ravening wolf, and when Thou hast rescued my captivity from the hands of the wild beasts.
6Quickly, O my Lord (Adonai), send from before Thee a deliverer, and draw me out of the gaping pit, which imprisons me in its depths.