On not being the elder brother

Jeremy has an excellent post about how he has come to hold an affirming stance on the morality of same-sex relationships. He manages the feat of clearly and directly stating what he believes, while at the same time being irenic and charitable toward those he disagrees with.

His conclusion:

I believe we are seeing the Spirit at work in our churches calling us to abandon long-held prejudices. At various times Christians have changed their opinions on issues previously thought to be clear and unambiguous – inclusion of Gentiles, married clergy, slavery, women in ministry, etc. I believe, in time, homosexuality will be another one of those issues where later generations look back with bewilderment at earlier generations’ beliefs. In baptism God has already accepted God’s gay children. It is up to us whether we will accept this, or, like the elder brother in Jesus’ parable, refuse to join the party.

After reading this, it occurred to me that I keep hearing stories from smart, thoughtful people about how they moved from a rejectionist to an affirming stance, but I hardly ever, if ever, see accounts of people moving in the other direction. To me this suggests that opponents of the full inclusion of LGBT people, both in the church and in society at large, are largely fighting a rearguard action.

UPDATE: Just to clarify, I’m not saying there aren’t smart, thoughtful people in the church defending the traditional position. My point is that those seem to mostly people who already held that position. What I don’t see is a lot of movement in the direction from affirming to rejectionist.

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5 thoughts on “On not being the elder brother

  1. I was just reading the letter some 200+ German-speaking theologians wrote to the Vatican … “The Church’s esteem for marriage and unmarried forms of life goes without saying. But this does not require that we exclude people who responsibly live out love, faithfulness, and mutual care in same-sex partnerships or in a remarriage after divorce.” …. maybe there’s hope even for us Catholics 🙂

  2. I’ve heard a few testimonies about going the other way, but now that I think about it, they’re all from people who are themselves gay. Maybe straight people are losing confidence in their judgment about things they haven’t personally experienced.

  3. Well that’s certainly a noteworthy data point!

    On the second issue, I don’t think it’s so much an issue of straight people not being confident in their judgments (though that may be true in some cases) as coming to a different evaluation of the status of same-sex relationships.

  4. Just to clarify, I’m not saying there aren’t smart, thoughtful people in the church defending the traditional position. My point is that those seem to mostly people who already held that position. What I don’t see is a lot of movement in the direction from affirming to rejectionist.

    For the record, I have moved from cautiously “affirming” to regretfully “rejectionist”. I don’t have the time to demonstrate I’m smart and thoughtful so you’ll just have to accept 2 graduate degrees and a magna cum laude BA in Philosophy as establishing my credentials. Not trying to impress anyone, of course. But I might as well get some use out of them.

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