We finally get to the book of Romans in our study of the verses that have traditionally been used to oppose gay marriage and the inclusion of the LGBTQI community into churches. This is the start of a four part mini series on Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, and in this episode we read through the text looking at the plain meaning of Romans 1 and 2. We’ll get into more detail in the next episodes, but even on the plain reading of the text, it is clear that Paul is not talking about loving, committed, monogamous same gender relationships – he’s talking about something else.
In his letter to the church at Corinth, Paul says that those people who are “malakos” are outside of the Kingdom of God. This is a Greek word that means “soft”. It is a strange choice of word for Paul to use if he meant to describe homosexuals. In the context of the passage, and with understanding of the culture of the day, this word makes a lot more sense if it is describing effeminate young men who made themselves available as “call boys”.
In his letters to Corinth and Timothy, the senior pastor at Ephesus, Paul lists a number of sins that will keep people out of the Kingdom of God. Included in these lists is a word that Paul made up. Why did he make this word up, what does it mean, and how should we understand it today?
NOTES: See here for the table of vice lists referred to in the podcast.
The Covid-19 disruption has had a huge impact on schools, and they are not going to be able to go “back to normal” anytime in 2020, or possibly even 2021. Parents are struggling to “home school”. Parents might be able to go back to work before children go back to school.
Here is a suggestion for churches, religious organisations, sports clubs and other community societies to help parents and children who are struggling right now.
Please listen and share this idea in your community. We all need to help each other deal with this Covid disruption.
I talked about how the Resurrection of Jesus is deliberately linked back to two big themes in the Old Testament:
1. the Creation Sabbath, which reminds us that the world is meant to be a place where we all have work and rest in a natural rhythm, and
2. the Exodus Passover, which reminds us that we are not meant to be in slavery to our work.
Jesus did not come to merely save us from this world and give us a hope of life after death, he came to save us from incorrect and oppressive systems in this world. Maybe Covid-19 is the reset the world needed to move us towards this picture of what the world is meant to be.
A Reflection during Lockdown on Good Friday, 10 April 2020:
It’s the hope that nearly killed me…
That’s a line from the amazing documentary, “Touching the Void”. Joe Simpson and his mountaineering partner Simon Yates were caught in a snowstorm on the Siula Grande in Peru. Joe broke his leg and in a failed attempt at a self rescue, was then left for dead on the mountain. He managed to get himself down the mountain, only to discover he was far away from any civilisation and had to drag himself across glaciers and rocks for a few days becoming dehydrated and frost bitten, before finally being rescued.
A Community of Radical Inclusion is a sermon preached by Graeme Codrington at the Melrose Campus of Gracepoint Methodist church in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016. It lays out both a Biblical and historical case for including LGBTQI in our churches, and affirming them as made in God’s image.
Sport is about finding the fastest and strongest human. Almost always, this turns out to be a man. In order to allow women to compete in elite sports, we created a category for “women”, and have excluded men from competing in this category. But for over 100 years, we’ve battled to define who a woman is in sport. Back in 1936, for example, both the gold and silver winners of the 100m accused each other of being men. A “nude parade” was required for all elite women athletes – to literally stand naked in front of a panel of judges to prove they were women. This was changed in the 1960s and 70s to a “female passport”. It then shifted to chromosome testing, and today a court has confirmed it relates to hormone levels. But none of these are adequate, and all have been flawed.
This bonus episode of the ALLin podcast looks at the fascinating history of how sport has tried to define who a woman is, and what it means for us that they have essentially failed to do so in over a century.
Of course, sport is merely an example. This also applies to how we might define who can go to a girls school, or who gets counted as a woman on your Board or Executive leadership team if your country requires a specific quota of women in those positions.
This bonus episode concludes the mini-series on “Are there only two genders?”. The answer, it is clear, is NO.
The ALLin podcast provides resources and insights for Christians who affirm the LGBTQI community. In this episode we look at the two Old Testament Laws that talk about male gay sexual activity. We look at the context, the Holiness Code and ancient Israel’s sexual ethics.
Summary: The commands against gay sex in Leviticus 18 and 20 were given to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land, and they were about the people who already lived there. Look at the first few verses of Lev 18 and 20 and you’ll see clearly that these Laws were about what the pagan nations did in their temples. These temple rituals included tattooing your body, shaving your head and having gay sex with teenage boys. They also included child sacrifice. And God said to the Israelites: don’t do any of these things in MY temple. These chapters in Leviticus are not meant to be a code of sexual ethics for all time, but a specific set of restrictions related to temple Worship in the pagan nations that surrounded Israel. They do NOT apply to gay people today. And they have nothing to say about gay marriage.