What is Christian Literacy?
Literacy refers to the ability to use a language - to know what words means, to be able to use grammar, sentence structure, to be able to converse in that language is to be literate.
Religious literacy means having the ability to understand and speak about our faith intelligently. It’s the ability to communicate the basic tenets of our religion.
I'm very grateful to B.U. Professor Stephen Prothero for his excellent book, "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't." This book, along with my desire to teach the faith, served as the inspiration for this effort.
Friday, November 16, 2012
"It's just not normal, Rich," he said emphatically. "Homosexuality is not normal." To which I replied, "Of course it's not normal to you, my friend - you're not gay!"
I know of a large family made up of several sons. Two of those sons happen to be gay. Both of them are faith-filled committed Christians. One believes it's best to remain celibate. The other does not.
Here's a thought: maybe we should let gay folks decide for themselves, and the rest of us should just mind our own business.
As a Christian and lover of the Bible, however, I can't ignore what it says. Yet when I read the Old Testament passages on the subject (Gen. 19:5, Lev. 18:22 & 20:13) I can't help but be reminded that these same books instruct men to shun menstruating women, and avoid pork (and all animals with a cloven hoof) as well as shellfish. At the same time these books allow for slavery and polygamy. So it shouldn't surprise me that the ancient Israelites (3500 years ago) weren't up-to-date on everything.
The Apostle Paul mentions the issue (perhaps) in three passages (Rom. 1:26-27, I Cor. 6:9 & I Tim. 1:9-10). But here's the thing - Paul never knew Jim & Billy, two friends of mine who've been together for over 25 years. Listen to what the late Harvard Chaplain, Rev. Peter Gomes says:
"The homosexuality Paul would have known and to which he makes reference in his letter, particularly to the Romans, has to do with pederasty and male prostitution, and he particularly condemns those heterosexual men and women who assume homosexual practices . . . All Paul knew of homosexuality was the debauched pagan expression of it . . . . 'Sodomite' as we now know, refers almost exclusively to a male prostitute, and is not a Pauline synonym for 'homosexual,' as we understand that term."
So St. Paul is not condemning Jim & Billy! He's condemning very pagan and immoral practices (heterosexual men visiting male prostitutes in pagan temples. Yikes. I'd like to speak out against that as well.)
Prayer: Gracious and Holy God, thank you for your love for all people. Forgive your church for not always welcoming all people. Teach us all to love as you love. Amen.