News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

This week I read a blog entry which really touched me. I will provide its link at the end of my comments. I also had a conversation with a friend about using the Bible as a weapon. I’d never heard that phrase before, but I think he’s absolutely right that many Christians do this today. We need not look any further than a saying that to my knowledge has no Biblical roots which says, “Love the sinner. Hate the sin”. I’d like to ask if that is what is really being done, and if we aren’t doing that in some cases, why not.

My purpose here is not to argue what is and isn’t sin, but let’s start with the assumption many Christians do — that gay sex acts are a sin. Even I don’t think there are too many Christians who would argue that every human being on earth is a sinner in one way or another. Even if every gay person in the whole world disappeared tomorrow, every human being on this earth would still be a sinner. So why are we singling them out as sinners by making them feel unwelcome in our churches? One person told me she wants to welcome them without affirming what they’re doing, and frankly, I think that’s pretty easy for the average church-goer to accomplish. But fingers are pointed, the yard sticks come out in the form of quotes in the Bible. By doing anything which singles out gay people, we are doing more than hating their sin.

And let’s not forget our politicians who are being denied the Eucharist, because of how they vote on a particular issue. Once again, an example of hatred — or at least withdrawal of love — is occurring, because of what others view as their sin. The argument is made that by voting not to legislate abolition of abortion, they are responsible for killing babies. I wonder about all the people who didn’t vote to set limits on the kinds of guns and put more background checks in place on who buys guns in the last few days? Are we willing to say they are just as responsible for all the people unjustly killed? This is a very similar scenario, but you never hear about those people being denied the Body of Christ. How about those voting in favor of the death penalty? It doesn’t occur to people to deny them communion, does it? In the Catholic tradition, we all admit we are unworthy before going up to receive communion. But by denying communion to anyone, those being denied are being branded as even more unworthy.

I am not advocating denial of the Eucharist to anyone due to their sins, because frankly, if that is a reason for denial, then no one should receive communion. If we are all sinners, then how about doing as Christ encourages and looking at the log in our own eyes before trying to remove the speck in the eye of our brothers and sisters?

Lest everyone think I’m picking on conservatives (which I admit is probably true above) let me make something else clear. Just as we shouldn’t use a yardstick to examine others’ sin, we also shouldn’t use acceptance as a litmus test either. I have trouble with the rainbow sash campaign. People write letters to the celebrant (usually a bishop) saying they will be wearing a rainbow sash as a person who is in the GLBT community or allied with them. They will walk up to see if they will be given or denied the Eucharist. I don’t care which political side one is on, Using the Body of Christ by denial or testing to see if one will be denied is putting politics above Sacrament. I won’t point fingers and say that is sinful, but I do ask whether this use of the sacrament or any Bible passage against a certain group of people is really stopping at hating the sin. It seems to me that it is a lot closer to hating the sinner. Furthermore, do we really have any business hating sins other than our own? It seems to me that hating and conquering our own sins should keep us busy for all of our lives.

Now, here’s the link to the blog entry I promised at the beginning of this article.

Comments on: "It’s really our own sins we should hate." (2)

  1. Rebecca, there are so many thought-provoking ideas in your post to consider. The one that sticks out most is near the end when you write of people wearing rainbow sashes to communion service in order to see if they will be denied the Eucharist. The part of me that is supportive of such a protest (protests that force institutions to demonstrate their oppressive practices) was tempted to wonder: “What’s wrong with what they’re doing? They SHOULD force clergy to deny them, so that the world will see their oppressive practice and call for change.” I had not, however, considered the extent to which this invites political discourse into the church, nor had I considered the negative implications of such. Now, there are arguments to be made for the appropriateness of such a protest in context of Jesus’ role as a political figure in his time… I’d need to think about that some more, however.

    Anyway, thanks for this really amazing blog post and for linking to me. I’ve shared it on Twitter and hope it’s as widely read, as it deserves to be.

    Crystal 🙂

    • I certainly understand where you are coming from in the context of how we view Jesus as being beyond the status quo — accepting far more diverse people than did the chief priests and scribes — , but if we politicize Jesus is the way we want to view him, it opens the door for others to do the same. this is why politicizing Jesus is dangerous. Not only is it inviting people to be selective about believing in a Jesus which only appeals to their views. but it takes the attention off of the whole (the Body of Christ in the Church and the Eucharist) and focuses on one part. Granted, certainly we focus on various readings each week, but this isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) political activity. I feel pretty strongly that the more political our churches become in either direction, the less deserving they are of a tax exempt status. Politicizing Jesus in any way uses him as a weapon, and somehow, I don’t think that’s what he had in mind.

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