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Help Me Understand . . .

For some time, I have had a question for those of you who stand to my theological left when it comes to the issue of homosexual intimacy and same-sex marriage within the United Methodist Church.I don’t ask it to be flip or sarcastic but out of a genuine desire to see how you arrive at your position, both in terms of biblical interpretation and church history.

Let me explain.  According to UM pastor friend and advocate for both same-sex marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals,

Those who argue for a more metaphorical interpretation [of marriage] believe that the covenant of marriage is less about male-female relations than it is a loving covenant between two people and God.

In other words,  marriage is not about men and women. It’s about faithful monogamy between two people, regardless of their gender..

Those of you who advocate for full inclusion, then, do so in part out of a desire to defend sexual and relational exclusivity.  Covenantal faithfulness.

So here’s the question before the question: where do you on the theological left find your rationale for covenantal monogamy?  Is it, as seems likely, Scripture?  Do you believe in marital faithfulness because you read about it in the bible?

If so, here’s the logical inconsistency I see:  that teaching comes from the same Scriptures you have moved beyond when it comes to same-sex intercourse.

Why stand with the authors of Scripture on monogamy but not with them on homosexuality?

Ironically, Scripture as a whole gives much more leeway to the exclusive nature of the marriage covenant — I’m thinking here of the polygamy that runs throughout the Pentateuch — than it does to same-sex intimacy.

When it comes to polygamy, the bible often describes what it does not necessarily endorse.

The same cannot be said for homosexual behavior.  Whatever the cultural background behind the texts, every mention of homosexuality in both testaments of Scripture is negative.

So, from the perspective of these theologically conservative eyes:  why keep the one (monogamy) and disregard the other (homosexuality)?

It seems to me that if you want the UMC to jettison the portions of Scripture that condemn homosexual behavior because they are either relics of outmoded thinking or misinterpreted entirely, why not do the same with those passages historically connected with “one man, one woman” perspectives?

Because I can tell you from pastoral experience that poly-amory — or to use more common terms, fornication, promiscuity, and infidelity — is every bit as natural for many heterosexuals as same-sex attraction and behavior is for homosexuals.

And yet I’ve never been encouraged to tell people involved in such behaviors to continue them as an act of grace. Why not?

Because the weight of inspired texts and the history of our church uphold the ancient, covenantal value of monogamy.

Those same texts and that same history also tell me homosexual intimacy is incompatible with Christian teaching.

So with all that, here’s my question :  why do you hold on to monogamy?

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