Wrote this as a Facebook note back on 2009. Friend just called it back to my attention and then several other events have made it relevant to where I’m at – so I’m adding to the blog space. I think it stands up well 2.5 years later.
So I’m supposed to be writing a paper about UNchristian – the book by David Kinnaman of the Barna group. Good research… and one of my least favorite books ever. In large part because for all the good insight David shares, there is one thing that he does not question – and that is that the evangelical “born again” conservative Christian worldview, what he refers to as a “Biblical Worldview” is absolutely correct. It’s painful to read… as one for whom that worldview – not just the over the top judgemental application of it – but the premise of much of that worldview was part of my once leaving the Church at one point on my journey…
I agree with his basic findings, I am, frankly one of the Christians he identifies as sharing most of the key opinions of Christianity that those he calls “outsiders” have. As a group we’re hypocritical, judgmental, too focused on converting others, anti-homosexual, sheltered, and what I’d term inappropriately political/controlling. He says some great things about how to address this without giving up Christian principles. The book is very well done… but it accepts as given much that I think drives the perceptions he’s trying to identify and find a way to combat. It accepts, as basic to Christianity, several things I think are flat wrong, even dangerously wrong.
What if… just what if… what “the Bible plainly says” just isn’t correct. The Bible plainly endorses slavery and the Bible clearly says women cannot have authority – we’ve gotten, most of us anyway, over that to recognize a more grace-filled way of being. What if – just IF – the traditional conservative understanding of passages about sexuality might also be misunderstood or misapplied in condemnation of GLBT persons? How might a growing understanding of those passages, the 1st Century context, and God’s diversity change us….
It wasn’t “giving into secular culture” when we gave up defending slavery and racism from Biblical passages about the children of Ham. It was the Holy Spirit working to free us from a terrible mistake!
so – anyway – All Along the Watchtower. This song came to mind as I was reading.
It’s a favorite. It’s about, or can be taken as about many things. Some Biblical connections, some social / gov commentary, there’s even a great theory / connection to Dylan and Elvis… it works at multiple levels. Bob Dylan wrote it but he liked Jimmi Hendrix’s cover of it so well that Dylan started performing Hendrix version. I love that.
I have 5 recordings of the tune. Dylan. Hendrix. U2. Dave Matthews Band with guest Neil Young doing a tremendous, long acoustic cover.
But my very favorite is by the Indigo Girls.
It is my favorite because they are singing with a raw emotion and two intense guitars, putting their all into the performance, live I think at one of the Lilith Fairs they did. Its classic Indigo Girls, but I especially like it because they extend the lyrics. Below is the part they add. All I can say is Amen and Amen:
Oh there are those among us right here right now
Who still see life as some kind of a joke
All along the watchtower
I said all along this watchtower
Those of you who still have eyes to see
Ears hear me
You will be saved by grace in the end
Saved by time if you don’t understand
That your hatred is rooted in your fear
And your paranoia and insecurities
Well they don’t belong here
You got to take someone’s hand
You got to learn to make a stand
And it’s one two three four
Look at the sky you can open the door
And take my hand take my hand
Take my hand
Ah you don’t want to touch
Don’t you want to feel
Don’t you know that this is real
I said shelter me
Shelter me shelter me
And save yourself save yourself
Save your save your save your save your
Save your save your save your save your
And you are a part of the world
You you are a part of the world
You gotta learn to touch to feel
And know that you are real
I said learn learn
You are a part of the world
and for anyone who happens to read this paper avoidance brain dump, particularly those who have questions about my stance on GLBT persons and Scripture, I urge and plead with you to read and just consider the material at this link.
This is where I’m coming from: http://www.soulforce.org/resources/what-the-bible-says-and-doesnt-say-about-homosexuality/