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Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: NYC
Home country: USA
Current location: Raleigh, NC
Member since: Sat May 7, 2005, 11:13 PM
Number of posts: 25,658

Journal Archives

Homosexuality and the Bible

This is a VERY interesting read that was posted on fb by a friend of mine who is a Methodist minister here in NC(educated at Duke Divinity School) and a writer. She offered it on fb as a great place to find arguments to use against the Bible thumpers when they are attempting to use the Bible for their rationale to oppose homosexuality.

It is particularly interesting given the NC Legislature override today of the Governor's veto of the bill allowing magistrates
in North Carolina to use their religious beliefs as an excuse not to marry gay couples. I apologize for violating DU rules
on quoting more than four paragraphs, but wanted to give those who won't read the entire essay a better feeling for
the point of view, so that maybe, more people would read it.

Sexual issues are tearing our churches apart today as never before. The issue of homosexuality threatens to fracture whole denominations, as the issue of slavery did one hundred and fifty years ago. We naturally turn to the Bible for guidance, and find ourselves mired in interpretative quicksand. Is the Bible able to speak to our confusion on this issue?

The debate over homosexuality is a remarkable opportunity, because it raises in an especially acute way how we interpret the Bible, not in this case only, but in numerous others as well. The real issue here, then, is not simply homosexuality, but how Scripture informs our lives today.

Nevertheless, the Bible quite clearly takes a negative view of homosexual activity, in those few instances where it is mentioned at all. But this conclusion does not solve the problem of how we are to interpret Scripture today. For there are other sexual attitudes, practices and restrictions which are normative in Scripture but which we no longer accept as normative:

The Old and New Testaments both regarded slavery as normal and nowhere categorically condemned it. Part of that heritage was the use of female slaves, concubines and captives as sexual toys, breeding machines, or involuntary wives by their male owners, which 2 Sam. 5:13, Judges 19-21, and Num. 31:18 permitted˜ and as many American slave owners did some 150 years ago, citing these and numerous other Scripture passages as their justification. The point is not to ridicule Israel’s sexual mores. Jews right up to the present have been struggling with the same interpretive task as Christians around issues of sexuality. The majority of U.S. Jewish groups (Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist) have gay-rites policies and have been involved in the same kinds of debates over homosexuality, masturbation and nonprocreative sexual intercourse as their Christian neighbors The point is that both Jews and Christians must reinterpret the received tradition in order to permit it to speak to believers today.

For example; virtually all modern readers would agree with the Bible in rejecting:

Intercourse with animals.

But we disagree with the Bible on most other sexual mores. The Bible condemned the following behaviors which we generally allow:

intercourse during menstruation
celibacy (some texts)
exogamy (marriage with non-Israelites)
naming sexual organs
nudity (under certain conditions)
masturbation (some Christians still condemn this)
birth control (some Christians still forbid this)

And the Bible regarded semen and menstrual blood as unclean, which most of us do not.

Likewise, the Bible permitted behaviors that we today condemn:

levirate marriage
sex with slaves
treatment of women as property
very early marriage (for the girl, age 11-13).

And while the Old Testament accepted divorce, Jesus forbade it. In short, of the sexual mores mentioned here, we only agree with the Bible on four of them, and disagree with it on sixteen!

The crux of the matter, it seems to me, is simply that the Bible has no sexual ethic. There is no Biblical sex ethic. Instead, it exhibits a variety of sexual mores, some of which changed over the thousand-year span of biblical history. Mores are unreflective customs accepted by a given community. Many of the practices that the Bible prohibits, we allow, and many that it allows, we prohibit. The Bible knows only a love ethic, which is constantly being brought to bear on whatever sexual mores are dominant in any given country, or culture, or period.

Approached from the point of view of the Spirit rather than the letter, the question ceases to be “What does Scripture command?”, and becomes “What is the Word that the Spirit speaks to the churches now, in the light of Scripture, tradition, theology, and, yes, psychology, genetics, anthropology, and biology? We can’t continue to build ethics on the basis of bad science. In a little-remembered statement, Jesus said, “Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” (Luke 12:57). Such sovereign freedom strikes terror in the hearts of many Christians’; they would rather be under law and be told what is right.

If now new evidence is in on the phenomenon of homosexuality, are we not obligated - no, free — to reevaluate the whole issue in the light of all the available data and decide what is right, under God, for ourselves? Is this not the radical freedom for obedience in which the gospel establishes us?

Where the Bible mentions homosexual behavior at all, it clearly condemns it. I freely grant that. The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct. The Bible sanctioned slavery as well, and nowhere attacked it as unjust. Are we prepared to argue today that slavery is biblically justified? One hundred and fifty years ago, when the debate over slavery was raging, the Bible seemed to be clearly on the slaveholders’ side. Abolitionists were hard pressed to justify their opposition to slavery on biblical grounds. Yet today, if you were to ask Christians in the South whether the Bible sanctions slavery, virtually every one would agree that it does not. How do we account for such a monumental shift?

We in the church need to get our priorities straight. We have not reached a consensus about who is right on the issue of homosexuality. But what is clear, utterly clear, is that we are commanded to love one another.


Some Charleston photos

My husband and I are here for the Spoleto Festival: third time we've come in the last four years.
I have my point and shoot with me on dog walks in the morning and when we're walking to/from Festival
performances. Here are a few that interested me this year:

Tiny house from about 150 or so years ago!


A couple of garden tour photos of the same garden:



One of many elaborate and interesting entrances.


I've shot this frog sculpture in a garden before...


but this year a car with this hood ornament was parked on the street outside the garden...


What's a Charleston garden without some artillery...


or gorgeous hydrangeas?


This is my "if you could choose one to live in...which one would it be?" This house faces the Ashley River and is set back
from the street with a beautiful canopy of old trees.


Looking up as the sun was setting...this is the spire of St. Michael's Church


and some interesting architectural detail of an old building lit by last rays of the sun...



All the stucco houses are over brick--done for earthquake reinforcement--we overheard one of the horse and carriage tour drivers telling people.


And finally, for all the old car afficionados, this lovely Citroën 2CV spotted while out walking Snowy this morning.


Emerald Isle (NC) opposes seismic testing offshore

EMERALD ISLE | A Carteret County town has gone on record against seismic testing off the coast as North Carolina’s governor has expressed his support for offshore energy exploration.

The Emerald Isle Board of Commissioners unanimously approved drafting a resolution opposing proposed seismic testing off the coast related to offshore oil and gas exploration.

The action came with applause from audience members who attended Tuesday night’s regular meeting of the board, which included a presentation by Carteret County Shore Protection Manager Greg Rudolph on the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022.


This is good news, but what did these people expect when they voted (in Carteret County)-- by 72%-- for
McCrory in 2012? When are the people in NC going to wake up?

The Photographer: Self Portrait

I thought it might be fun to see who is behind the camera most of the time
by turning the camera around and pointing it at ourselves.

I'll start with a shot I took while returning from our weekend trip to DC to see the cherry blossoms.
We rode the train--which was fun!--and it was a real challenge to get a shot without a blurred
background (shot was taken while moving) and lighting that felt right.

How about the rest of you? Care to share a selfie?!?


Cherry Blossom Festival in DC

My husband and I are here for the weekend as kind of an un-birthday trip. I've never seen the cherry trees
in bloom in DC, so a couple of weeks ago we planned to come up this weekend.

I was at the Tidal Basin by 8 am this morning and it was already crowded! I walked ALL the way around it.

A few of my favorite shots:

Admiring the trees


Jefferson Memorial with a Bonus! (Can you spot it?)


Another view of the Jefferson Memorial


Trees at the FDR Memorial


MLK, Jr. Memorial


Two pilots and the same plane -- Airbus 320--US Air 1549 and Germanwings 9525

Remember Sully Sullenberger? Remember the story of the plane that he ditched successfully into
the Hudson River when it lost power after geese flew into both engines? All 155 passengers and crew survived. Well, guess what it was? Yes, an Airbus 320. The same plane that the German co-pilot appears to have deliberately flown into a mountain, killing all 150 aboard.

I've seen a lot of talk the last few days, speculation, that oh, they should have been flying Boeing. Or, gee, the plane shouldn't have
been so old. But the reality is slowly coming to light that the tragedy of this flight going down was no accident, but a deliberate
act of a pilot. How and why someone could be trusted with such a job and so callously cause the deaths of so many innocent people will surely be thoroughly investigated.

Why would someone do such a thing? It's hard enough to trust (US) airlines when so many of us have had experience where we know
the agents of the airline are lying to us about delays and cancellations of flights. But the pilots? We've always trusted the pilots.
After all, they do superhuman things, like landing planes in the middle of a river.

I am really glad I have no flights planned. I'm pretty fed up with the entire airline industry. But now? Jeeze.

Turkey buzzard!

I was sitting at my desk and two great big turkey buzzards flew in and landed on a tree on our back hill. We see them
flying overhead all the time, but I've never seen one land. Grabbed the camera and sneaked out on the deck--crouching
on my poor arthritic knees--and got these two shots (the same bird) before they both flew away.

Looking at me:


Looking away from me:


Goolsby appointed to UNC Board of Governors--Repubs out to destroy UNC system

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The North Carolina Senate voted Wednesday to appoint former senator Thom Goolsby to the UNC Board of Governors, the governing body over the UNC system.

Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) nominated Goolsby for the position, according to the Senate Clerk's office.

Goolsby says he wants to make sure taxpayers get their money's worth from the UNC system by cutting wasteful spending. Goolsby says people deserve a huge return on investment from the UNC system.

I think we have our answer regarding the intent of the Republican dominated UNC Board of Governors:
there can be little doubt they are out to destroy the prestigious and respected UNC system.

In January, the President of the BOG, Tom Ross was, without warning, forced to resign.


Then in February, the BOG decided to close a well known social justice center in Chapel Hill,
The Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity--even though the Center was self-funding.


A former Chancellor of the University, James Moeser, penned an op ed recently in the Raleigh News & Observer
decrying the attempt by the BOG to chill free speech in the University system, saying "UNC-CH faculty members are concerned about the university, concerned that its core values of academic freedom, the freedom to follow the truth wherever it leads without fear of censorship or review from higher authorities, may be under attack."

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article12869321.html#storylink=cpy

So, who is Goolsby? None other than the jerk Republican who went after the leadership and participants in the Moral Monday
events, calling them--in print--"morons and clowns" in an op ed he wrote.

This is the type of person the NC Senate nominates for the Board of Governors? It is not good times here in NC to see
what these Republicans continue to do in their efforts to destroy what is great about this state.

The GOP Open Letter to Iran: Write to your Senators

I am ashamed, and embarrassed, once again, to have two Republican Senators from North Carolina who care
more about their dislike of the President than they do about upholding the Constitution of the United States.

I just sent this e-mail to BOTH Senators Burr and Tillis:

I am writing to express my extreme disgust that you chose to sign the disgraceful Open Letter to Iran which disrespects the Office of the President. I refer you to an editorial which pretty well explains my position and ends with this sentence: "But the Republicans who dispatched this letter have done more than embarrass a president they dislike. They have also disgraced themselves and undermined the credibility of the nation whose constitution they took an oath to uphold."

I have known for a long time that you and your Republican scumbag buddies cannot get over the fact that this country voted--twice--to elect a black man as President of the United States. Get over yourselves. The world is changing. We need peace, not war. We need respect and tolerance for others, not hate and bigotry. And above all we do not need a bunch of condescending a$$hole Republicans attempting to undermine the Constitutional authority of the President of the United States.

The only good to come out of this letter is the recognition that at least seven Republicans care more for upholding the Constitution than aligning themselves with Tea Party traitors. It's a start.

I would encourage any and all of you represented by this gang of 47 to also write to them expressing your thoughts and also send letters to the editor of your local newspapers. I wish we could do what is done to shame dogs: make them all stand outside on the steps of the Capitol Building with signs hung around their necks saying "I'm an a$$hole. I have broken the oath of my office."

1995 325i BMW convertible

in red!

Not a great photo--but the only one I have that survived our fire.

My oldest son--the one who now drives autocross here in NC--learned to drive a manual transmission on that car.
I still remember taking him out to the local mall parking lot on Sunday mornings so he could get the feel of the clutch
and learning to shift. Me? I learned to drive a manual transmission on a WWII era Willys Jeep that my dad used
in the orchard when I was in high school.

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