Tag Archives: sermon on the mount

Gay Pride and the Plank in Dr. Pritchard’s Eye

gay_bible

Last week, I received an e-mail from Dr. Ray Pritchard warning of a “coming evangelical divide” over gay rights.

He assures us the divide will not be over homosexuality or gay marriage. Pritchard claims that when this line is drawn in the sand, it will be over “biblical authority,” and will mean “splitting denominations, the leaving of churches, and in some cases, the division of families.”

Pritchard says this issue is a “deal-breaker,” that there is “no middle ground,” and that “the people who think it’s okay for two guys or two girls to get married and then come and lead Awana on Wednesday night will never be accepted by the rest of us.”

Can’t we all just get along?

“No, we can’t,” he says.

“No one can be happy about the very real pain involved” in this coming split, he continues, but it’s “better that we should separate than stay together and pretend at a unity that does not exist.”

I’ll return to that in a minute. He goes on:

Pastors, church leaders, Christians, and those with influence who admit to “struggling” over the issue from the “seductive voices calling us to ‘rethink’ our position,” you’d better pick a side in this battle, he says, because in the end, “we all get to decide where we stand.”

So be it.

Really, Dr. Pritchard? Do even our lesbian, gay and transgender brothers and sisters get to decide for themselves where they will stand?

You say the divide will be over Biblical “authority,” but I wonder if what you really mean is biblical “interpretation.”

I understand that you’re approaching this topic from a strictly Christian perspective (though I’m sure Jewish and Islamic fundamentalists would totally have your back on this). But, unfortunately it seems that the “authority” in you that drafted this letter is rooted in your own ego and self-preservation, as well as the preservation of the organization that trained you — the old tried-and-untrue concern of the Orthodox church that accepting homosexuality will somehow erode the perpetuation of our species. Your authority is not rooted in love, it is rooted in irrational and paralyzing fear. And that’s a form of man-made “authority” we need less of in this world, not more.

You claim in your letter (or shall we call it a tract?), “it may be that we will be the ones leaving some churches because we are the minority.” I pray that this is true. I also pray that those who count themselves in your number continue to dwindle, as their hearts and minds inversely expand in a blinding compassion for all of humanity. I pray for a world where minorities (actual minorities, not just minorities of the mind) can learn to love and respect one another, and do away with the borders and boundaries that continually seek to define them. In this regard, this line in the sand you propose may very well serve to benefit both parties. We (since we’re at least temporarily choosing “sides”) only want for you to hold more love and understanding in your heart. For in the stages we move through on our road to devotion, we begin in ignorance, before moving on to disquiet, insight, surrender, transformation, understanding, and ultimately, unification. Your letter is rather disquieting, so I can at least congratulate you on being slightly less ignorant than you were before you wrote it. Continue reading

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The Sermon on the Mount (of Intrareligious Dialogue)

“Religion is not an experiment, it is an experience of life through which one is part of the cosmic adventure” – Raimon Panikkar

Thanks to Jan Magray for sending this our way. Enjoy.

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The Sermon on the Mount of Intrareligious Dialogue
by Raimon Panikkar (from Bulletin 27, October 1986)

When you enter into an intrareligious dialogue, do not think beforehand what you have to believe.

When you witness to your faith, do not defend yourself or your vested interests, sacred as they may appear to you. Do like the birds in the skies: they sing and fly and do not defend their music or their beauty.

When you dialogue with somebody, look at your partner as a revelatory experience as you would — and should — look at the lilies in the fields.

When you engage in intrareligious dialogue, try first to remove the beam in your own eye before removing the speck in the eye of your neighbor.

Blessed are you when you do not feel self-sufficient while being in dialogue.

Blessed are you when you trust the other because you trust in Me.

Blessed are you when you face misunderstandings from your own community or others for the sake of your fidelity to Truth.

Blessed are you when you do not give up your convictions, and yet you do not set them up as absolute norms.

Woe unto you, you theologians and academicians, when you dismiss what others say because you find it embarrassing or not sufficiently learned.

Woe unto you, you practitioners of religions, when you do not listen to the cries of the little ones.

Woe unto you, you religious authorities, because you prevent change and (re) conversion.

Woe unto you, you religious people, because you monopolize religion and stifle the Spirit which blows where and how she wills.