But first, I want to point out this one little thing.
A month ago Nicole wrote this on her Facebook page:
Where do I start with this?
I guess the best place to start is at the beginning: Genesis.
As I mentioned about two years ago, if you read the Eden story carefully, you'll see that patriarchy was NEVER God's original intention. It was only after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit that God told them Adam would rule over her (Genesis 3:16). Before that, the text says she was a "suitable helper" to Adam (Gen. 2:20-22). As John R. Coats explains in a Huffington Post article:
In Hebrew, the phrase is "'ezer kenegdo," which, for centuries, has been translated as "helper," or "helpmate" -- the little woman. But biblical scholars Robert Alter and Richard Elliot Friedman, their arguments convincing, translate the phrase, respectively, as "sustainer beside him [the man]," and "a strength corresponding to him." In other words, the woman was created in order to be a partner -- an equal partner. Moreover, given that "adam" is the Hebrew word for "human," not "man," Eve is as much an "adam" as Adam. In fact, regarding the first creation story, scholar Tamara Cohn Eskenazi writes, "By referring to 'adam', the text is not describing an individual but a new class of beings that comprises female and male from the start, both of them in God's image. ... Our humanity comes first; our sexual identity next."
And then there's Galatians 3:38, where Paul says that there is "neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female" in Christ. (Emphasis mine) So therefore, in the kingdom of sin, there is division and separation; but in the Kingdom of God, there is unity and equality.
And the same thing goes for LBGTs.
In another previous blog post, I explain that throughout the New Testament we see how several people on the outside of Judaism are now welcomed into the Kingdom of God. For example, the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts chapter 8. Being both a foreigner and a eunuch, he would not be allowed fully participate in temple worship, according to the Law of Moses. In Isaiah 56:1-7, however, we read that God will eventually open the gates to God's Kingdom to both foreigners and eunuchs. We’re not told what exactly Philip says to the eunuch, but if the eunuch wanted to be baptized immediately I’m pretty sure Philip told him about Isaiah’s prophecy. (Hat tip: A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren)
Another passage I like to point out is Peter's vision in the book of Acts. As Fred Clark of Slactvist explains:
More specifically, I would point to Acts 10:1 – Acts 11:18 as a compelling argument that followers of Christ must not “call anyone profane or unclean.” This story teaches us that appealing to biblical law in order to declare another person or group of people as “profane or unclean” is not legitimate, even if we think we can make a strong case for interpreting the law in this way. The biblical laws regarding circumcision were not ambiguous or optional, yet such clear commandments regarding Other People’s Genitals were not to be allowed to exclude the uncircumcised from being baptized.
Let me be clear on that point: God commanded Peter to disregard those laws, commanded him not to allow those laws to exclude others. Peter wasn’t told that he now had the option of welcoming those who had been excluded. Peter wasn’t told he might maybe kind of sort of “tolerate” these people as second-class members of the community, “as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed” the gift of the Holy Spirit.
No, Peter was told that he must welcome them, fully and openly as equals. “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” Anything short of full acceptance would itself constitute disobeying a command from God.
If you, like Nicole, read Scripture from the typical conservative American evangelical hermeneutic perspective, then yes, Jesus only offers us forgiveness and truth. But if you take a closer look, you will find that Jesus offers something else, too: equality.