Sunday, August 12, 2012

I'm Struggling to Make Sense

We did our annual trip to the Dakota County Fair Wednesday night. Typically we go on a night when we can take in the demolition derby but no such luck this year.We had to settle for Extreme Bull-riding. Since neither of us has ever been to anything resembling a rodeo we thought it might be fun to see what it was all about while adding a little culture to our lives. And this was to be 'extreme'! How cool would that be?

Not very.

I was half expecting a guy to come out riding two bulls at one time. We were in for nothing of the sort.

I have to say that it was actually a little sad and at times bordering on either pathetic or cheesy; I'm not sure which. Sad because some of the bulls were clearly past their prime. One in particular that walked (not sprang as you might expect) out of the chute carrying its rider, then laid down in the dirt after four or five paces. I'm quite sure I could've ridden that poor guy. Pathetic or cheesy because the rodeo clown conversing with the crowd via a wireless mic had a mic that kept cutting out making it difficult for his jokes to have any chance at all.

We sat and watched for 45 minutes before bailing, opting to meet Rachel and her friend Tony who were also at the fair. The four of us spent the rest of the night together taking in the exhibits. That was much more fun.

There's going to be a same-sex marriage amendment on the ballot here in Minnesota in November. Same-sex marriage is already unrecognized in our state but apparently, that isn't good enough for some. We need an amendment to make it indisputably so. Supporters of the amendment are quick to point to the Bible and its teachings for direction in this matter and this is what troubles me. Yes, the Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman but it also gives some examples that aren't so tidy as that.

I'm not one to disrespect God's word but I am one who really wants to understand what it is I'm reading. I don't mean to offend anyone with what follows but if my blog is to be an honest assessment of my thoughts over the years I'd be doing a disservice to it by omitting what follows.

A friend on Facebook posted the graphic to the left on his Facebook wall a few days ago. It really struck me because it's this sort of thing that I've been wrestling with so much lately.

The Old Testament verse that's given me the most difficulty over the years is Deuteronomy 22 verses 28-29. It pretty much defines marriage as between a rapist and his victim. Say What? Numbers 31 verses 17-18 refers to the conquering of the Midianites by the Israelites. I can only conclude that marriage here is defined as between a conqueror and his plunder. You most certainly won't hear people lift up these verses in support of how the Bible defines marriage. How do we so easily pick and choose which scripture we're going to latch onto to make our point? I've heard the arguments/reasons for why the above mentioned practices were acceptable at the time but I don't agree with those conclusions. The Old Testament is also full of examples of men having more than one wife in addition to many concubines. Would this too be an example of the Bible's definition of marriage?

It's not my intention here to throw stones. I just want to understand.

In Leviticus 18 Moses gives many examples of unacceptable sexual practices but never once does he mention molestation of a daughter by her father. Why is that? It would seem to me that that would be one of the more common abuses both then and now but Moses makes no mention of it. Why?

I can only conclude (and I really dislike that this is where I'm at) that the words Moses penned were more than God's words. I sincerely believe that Moses editorialized some with God's laws and that we're not getting a true reading of what God intended.

I'm sorry but I can come to no other conclusion.

I'm struggling to make sense. I hope I'm just not getting it. I hope there's an explanation out there that will clear all of this up for me but I don't think there is. I think this is something I'm going to have to somehow learn to accept. Something that I'll never be able to understand in my lifetime but to not let it disrupt my faith-walk more than it already has.

If anyone reading this has struggled with these same thoughts and has been able to come to a personal acceptance I'd be so appreciative of your thoughts or comments.

There's an opposing campaign to the marriage amendment in Minnesota that is picking up steam. I asked Tammy if it would be okay for me to place one of their lawn-signs in our yard but she would rather that I didn't. I can respect that. We'll soon be hosting our small-group from church on Thursday nights and I don't want my views clouding our gathering. This is my personal struggle and I need to remember that.

But, I will most certainly be sporting an Obama/Biden lawn-sign. This lilly-white neighborhood of mine cries out for it!


Brett Holzschuh said...

I often use Occum's razor when I find myself pondering.....Question: If Tim Tebow asks a question is it a Christian Ponder? I know it's unrelated, I just liked it.

John said...

Leaving aside my personal beliefs on marriage, I think that if a person believes that the Bible defines marriage as between a man and a woman then they owe it to others to OPPOSE this amendment. To support it is to allow for any other religion to impose their beliefs on society via a governmental action since you are asking the government to impose your religious beliefs on society.

What if Jehovah's Witnesses wanted a law passed that we no longer observe holidays? or Muslims wanted a mandate that everybody fast during Ramadan? We would quickly recognize those as infringements on our freedom of religion. Why don't we see that defining marriage from our most precious sacred document as an infringement on the beliefs of others?

Kevin said...

Very interesting take on it, John. I can't say I disagree. Too many on the right want to say that we're a Christian nation but we're simply not; at least not in my way of thinking. I don't see that our government should have a say in this matter although I'm guessing I'm in the minority thinking about it that way...but for the reason you suggest.

While at the rodeo an interesting thing happened. They started it off with a prayer in the name of Jesus for the safety of all involved in the event. I couldn't help but wonder what others not of the Christian faith were thinking and imagined what I'd have thought had he prayed in the name of Allah or Brahman or take you pick.

I don't know. My politics has changed so much over the last several years. And I thought we were supposed to become more conservative the older and wiser we become. What's up with me?

Anonymous said...

Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we are to look to Him....not a set of beliefs. He did not come into our world to fix our politics...otherwise He would have taken over Ceaser...there were MANY political issues at that time. He came to build a different Kingdom ..not to better the kingdoms that are man-made.
The one who is loving the division that happens in politics is Satan. Keep the Christian in confusion by a "cause" whether left or right and their eyes will be off Jesus and on to what they "see" in the world. He is a very clever deciever!
You are not alone in your thoughts...I believe many are waking up that we were never a Christian nation...history shows that. Even if we went back to the '50s where most families went to church, we would still be a nation who needs Jesus...because again, its not about a set of beliefs (religion)...Its about trusting, knowing and having a relationship with the One who came to Kill religion and create anew within each of us. ...:)

Anonymous said...

LIFE comes thru Jesus...He is the giver of Life.
I like Greg Boyd's recent tweets about this:

"If you are getting LIFE (worth) from the righteousness of what you believe ABOUT GOD, you aren't getting LIFE from God....which makes your beliefs wrong."

"Religion offers us ways to improve ourselves. Christ offers us LIFE when we finally
realize trying to improve ourselves is bondage"

"To the extent that Christ is not our TOTAL source of life, purpose and security, we are wallowing in a prison of life sucking idols."

Anonymous said...


Sermon titled "Summer Q and A. Part 3

I think you will find it very helpful with the questions asked and the answers given...:)

Anonymous said...

Share your struggles with your small group...That is what small groups are all about. I heard this quote from someone " bout we go beyond praying about Aunt Sally's achy knees at bible study and pray about our REAL struggles and vulnerabilities?"