Friday, May 23, 2014

1 Peter 3:13-22

Year A - 6th Sunday of Easter or Assured 6
May 25, 2014

The religious right in United Methodism is just a little ahead of schedule in making their quadrennial appeal to equate a unique discrimination against LGBTQ people with Christian teaching (or doctrine as the original motion in 1972 had it). They are spelling doctrine differently these days, “discipline by majority vote”, but everyone knows it means their understanding of G*D is the only valid one and so they should be in charge of everything. (Reference 1, Reference 2)

Their technique is to whine when caught being discriminatory and turning that around to claim they are the ones who are being discriminated against because they can’t keep their favorite “eternal truths” of the Bible. Then, in nearly a next breath, there comes forth an accusation against others that they are violating one “truth” they hold to be “self-evident” and of some “natural law” and so everyone else should self-deport from the purity of United Methodism (as though it ever were so!).

We’ve been here before. I suspect their only acceptable “win-win” scenario is if they get to win, period. To this end they have previously set up an alternative publishing house to divest from the denominational publisher, an alternative mission sending agency to disrupt the breadth of mission work and limit it to a narrow interpretation of evangelism, and an alternative women’s organization to diminish the effective teaching and compassion of United Methodist Women. It would be interesting for someone to track these regular missives that try to sound so concerned, but for anyone with a long-memory know are part of a larger movement to reduce life to rules.

Related to this passage, there is a question to be raised with every part of the church, “Is it really better to suffer for doing good?” Appeals such as the above are always ready to claim that I have suffered enough, thank you, and now it is time for me to get mine. Amazingly, it is always the right time for me to get mine.

A second question also needs to be raised, “What about all those who suffer at the hands of those so righteous in their doing good that they exile and shun their own children who do not live up to some arbitrary ideal?”

Now to separate the suffering of one’s self for doing what seems to be good from the suffering caused to others for doing what seems to be good. I’m betting that Peter here might say that causing suffering for another is qualitatively different and worse than one’s own willingness to suffer for another.

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