What’s my defense? “The doors of the church open wide to all straight men and women but they will not open to me.”

another blog by Neil Hart on gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Austalia.

Hey! have a listen to this song. Its by the indigo girls. didnt know much about them except their song “closer to fine”. Turns out they’re gay. Maybe you can let the song play in the background as you read. Just forget about the picture accompanying the song. Its just a couple of lesbian chicks from youtube. They dont really matter.

On 9th November in response to “another gay student: blog, David Buck asks…

Neil, what’s your authority for your defense of homosexual sex? C’mon, don’t say it’s the holy Scriptures. What is it?

What is my authority for my defense? wow! interesting way of putting it.

imagine yourself walking down the road. You come across a group of people surrounding a young man and they are yelling insults and abuse at him. He does not respond. You see the hurt on his face, recognise the imbalance of power and dare ti step into the circle and ask the people to stop. And someone from the edge shouts out. What is your reason for doing this? What is your authority for this defence?

OK… my authority, my defence. i have an image of a courtroom in my mind now. I act as the defence i guess. sitting next to me is my gay friend. i get to listen to him and try to put his views, to represent him in some ways to the court. I like that. i dont like the reponsibility or the idea that i can truly represent another person, but I like that i get to sit next to my friend, be his advocate. I guess you are in this court too David. Im just not sure where you are or what role you play.

So, allow me to address the jury (the readers I guess). Ladies and gentlemen, i have been asked to defend my friend and the love that he feels for another human being. And a challenge was also put.  Dare i use Holy Scripture for the task. Well, i could, and i will, as time goes on. but im aware that in this court, on this day, i could throw my passages and the prosecution will simply throw their passages back until we are all swimming in a muddied pool of words. So im not so sure how valuable that approach is. I will however give one passage and in so doing, give an indication of my hermaneutic. (remember that word?), a scriptural presupposition.

Jesus’ disciples were picking heads of grain to eat as they walked through a field on the sabbath. The law watchers were shocked. the most critical of all laws, THE SABBATH, was being trampled under the disciples dirty, sandled feet.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury dont underestimate the importance of the law of the sabbath to these people or the significance of this moment in time. This was the law that had been discussed and debated and defined and refined more than any other law over the centuries. this was the law that was built into the very fabric of creation as God himself “sabbathed” on the 7th day and commanded all creation to join him in this most sacred activity. Rabbinic legend asserts that along with the Torah, Sabbath was in existence even before the creation of the world (much like Jesus).

The sabbath, together with the prohibition against idolatry, formed the heart of the 10 commandments in describing how the israelites were to live out their love and fidelity to God. In Jewish literature, poetry and music, SABBATH is described as a bride or queen (Much like the church). in popular hebrew tradition, if all the Children of Israel kept just two sabbath days in succession as they are meant to be kept, then the Messiah would arrive.

Get the picture…on a scale of 1 to 10, from least to most, of how important various laws were…this was 11. i cannot begin to think of one law in the christian tradition that equals the practical and spiritual importance of this law to Jesus original audience.

And the disciples break it!

And Jesus is presented with the horrible truth of their lack of faith and blatant sinful disobedience…

And Jesus says…..”meh”.

ok..ok… maybe not that dismissive but….man! his response is astounding. Because…”the sabbath was meant for human beings and not human beings for the sabbath”. The law is meant to serve humanity, not the other way around. And, it seems, when it fails to do what it is supposed to do, Jesus opts for the person rather than the law.

Get that?…given the choice, Jesus the “Lord of the Sabbath” sides with the needs of the person rather than the demands of the law especially when it concerns the most basic of human needs.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, i’m not so stupid as to suggest that the law is somehow in opposition to human need. The law is given for humanity and serves human need. But, given the importance of THIS most fundamental of all laws, surely Jesus response at the very least gives us pause for thought. And surely Jesus’ answer challenges US to think again whenever our rigid obedience to the law runs the risk of failing the humans it was meant to serve,

And such is the rigid and harmful prohibition of homosexual love.  Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, i say again…..prohibition of homosexual love. Dont let the prosecution cheapen it being simply describing it as sex. It is love and the sex is the natural expression of that love, just as it is for any other couple who are committed to each other and desire to share their lives together.

If it pleases your honour…for the moment… the defense rests…although i would reserve the right to call other witnesses in the future….

Ok David, in answer to your question, my position and the reasons i hold to it are not going to be summed up in a few hundred words. I would be stupid to attempt it and you would be stupid to expect it.  if you really want to know what i think then keep reading. the reasons for my position will unfold over the weeks ahead.

But for now, suffice to say, my authority and my defense is the person in front of me. His need and his hurt.  my defense is the two lesbian chicks from the youtube clip and their love for each other…coz they DO matter. they matter a lot.

listen to the song one more time? this time with the words,  yeh?  (for those of us with aging ears)

Welcome to why the church has died
In the heart of the exiled in the kingdom of hate
Who owns the land & keeps the commands
And marries itself to the state

Modern scribes write in Jesus Christ
Everyone is free
And the doors open wide to all straight men & women
But they will not not open to me

And who is teaching kids to be soldiers
marked by a plain white cross
And we kill just a little to save a lot more
The philosophy of loss

and, David, can i ask you what your authority for your condemnation of homosexual love is? and, for all the alienation and hurt that it causes…it better be good…it better be very, very good.