Glutton for punishment that I am, apparently, I sometimes interact with fellow United Methodist clergy from around the country on the UMC clergy Facebook page. Last Saturday, I participated in a lengthy comment thread about “evangelical left” leader Tony Campolo’s alleged change of heart on the LGBT issue. In a statement that surprised no one, Campolo now says that homosexual behavior isn’t inherently sinful.
One outspoken progressive colleague (whom I haven’t met, although we’ve argued online often enough) accused me of “eisegesis” in my traditional interpretation of scripture regarding sexuality. (Eisegesis means reading something into the text that isn’t there.)
By the logic of my college’s argument, however, if I’m misinterpreting scripture regarding homosexual practice, I’m also misinterpreting passages related to other sexual sin, including adultery, fornication, and lust. So I asked him repeatedly to clarify himself: are these other sexual sins in the Bible not really sinful? Does Jesus himself have a problem with sexual sin, however much we may disagree on what this category includes?
Here is the most interesting part of the exchange. (I’ve removed his name and photo, not because this clergy page isn’t public—it’s open for all the world to see—but because I believe he ought to be ashamed of himself, and I don’t want to pile on.)
He begins by telling me that he’s “inviting [me] to examine [myself] and [my] assumptions.”
At that point, one United Methodist “concern troll” posted the following:
This isn’t conferencing. This appears to be about winning points for one’s side. Where’s the listening? The attention to making sure all are understood and respected?
Both Mr Wesley and Paul might describe this as unprofitable conversation.
I can only imagine what “Mr Wesley” and Paul would say about my colleague’s viewpoint! What does Paul say of those in the Galatian church who were telling Gentiles that they must first get circumcised in order to become Christian?
As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
How “unprofitable” on Paul’s part!