March 12th, 2019


Today's Scripture reading

W.W. Smith added this at the end of his The New Testament in Braid Scots --

The Twenty-third Psaum

The Lord is my Shepherd; my wants are a' kent; the pasture I lie on is growthy and green.

I follow by the lip of the watirs o' Peace.

He heals and sterklie hauds my saul; and airts me, for his ain name's sake, in a' the fit-roads o' his holiness.

Aye, and though I bude gang throwe the howe whaur the deid-shadows fa', I'se fear nae skaith nor ill, for that yersel is aye aside me; yere rod and yere cruik they defend me.

My table ye ha' plenish't afore the een o' my faes; my heid ye hae chrystit wi' oyle; my cup is teemin fu'!

And certes, tenderness and mercie sal be my fa' to the end o' my days; and syne I'se bide i' the hoose o' the Lord, for evir and evir mair!

Some thoughts on theology and identitarian ideology

Within my lifetime, homosexuality has been considered a sin, a crime, a mental disorder, and now, an identity. In 1973, homosexuality was removed from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) by the American Psychiatric Association, though other “paraphilias” were retained. No research was conducted nor evidence cited to do so; but then, no research had been conducted nor evidence cited to include it to begin with. Meanwhile, the pace of decriminalization increased following the Stonewall riots of 1969, culminating in the Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which finally struck down all laws forbidding consensual sodomy. Gay activism since the 1990s has roiled the churches, leading to many denominations and individual clergy no longer defining homosexual practice as a sin, though many have retained that understanding. The United Methodist Church’s recent Special General Conference refused to change its definitions, and this has led to much defiance on the part of progressive leaders; meanwhile, homosexual practice remains a sin in the eyes of many churches and church leaders.

Somewhere along the way, however, homosexuality became an identity. I suppose it always ways, to some extent, and I have previously discussed the coming-out process as a form of conversion experience in this blog. Nevertheless, something new has been a-borning, for if you listen to the various activists, especially those in the Queer Clergy Caucus and Reconciling Ministries Network, you hear something different. The difference isn’t in their stridency on the issue, but in how they are constructing their identity.Collapse )
dangerous job

Nobody asked me, but . . .

Returning to chew over the problem of clergy credentialing and accountability for both clergy and congregations. What should be required of our leaders and our congregations?

Q1. Why is seminary a graduate degree?
A1. Status. Seminary used to give BD (Bachelor of Divinity) degrees. They changed to MDivs some time in the ‘60s. Now, many offer doctorates as part of the package – all before the new clergyperson has ever been appointed to a charge.Collapse )