Is your life NSFJ (not safe for Jesus)?

IMG_1616Please excuse the gratuitous selfie; I couldn’t think of another graphic to use. I was reading a passage in Greek today and it hit me in a different way than it ever has before. It’s 1 Corinthians 6:12-13, which illustrates how Christian morality differs from a casuistic or legalistic moral system. Few Christians are willing to accept how radical Paul is being when he says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are beneficial.” It is a morality that is based not on following a particular set of rules, but on living in such a way that we seek union with Christ. The question is whether our lives are NSFJ (not safe for Jesus). Few Christians are willing to rise to Paul’s challenge so they define their “morality” according to a safe, limited set of rules (often the trinity of “no sex, no drugs, no cussing”) that they don’t have trouble keeping and they can judge others for breaking. Continue reading

What is the burden of proof in the #Methodist #homosexuality debate?

Gay-Symbol-WallpaperIn the American justice system, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable shadow of doubt. Defense attorneys do not have to prove their client’s innocence; they just have to find enough holes in the prosecution’s argument to establish that they have not been proven guilty. But in the debate over Biblical interpretation on homosexuality, the burden of proof falls entirely on the defendants to prove their innocence. What if my fellow Methodists who are anti-gay had to provide not only isolated proof-texts and speculative translations of obscure Greek words but a coherent Biblical ethical explanation of why chaste monogamous homosexual partnerships are “incompatible with Christian teaching”? I think that would be a much more just and legitimate burden of proof. Continue reading

Sister Simone: the pro-life movement’s best witness

The abortion debate has become a quagmire in which both political parties have latched onto it as a wedge issue to trap the votes of either women or evangelical Christians. Both presidential candidates have ambiguously moderate positions on the issue. Obama says that he believes in the sanctity of life, but has gotten a lot of mileage out of stirring up fear about the more radical pro-life position of Paul Ryan. Romney was pro-choice when he needed to be in Massachusetts and had a change of heart during the Republican primaries after which he backpedaled to the middle this past week. In the midst of a situation in which perpetuating the quagmire is in the best interests of both political parties, it’s time for the pro-life movement to abandon its partisan approach to this issue. This is where Sister Simone Campbell emerges as a hero in this struggle. She is ardently committed to defending the lives of unborn children; she is also committed to the lives of children after they are born. She has been campaigning on a nationwide nun bus tour about poverty, and she was a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention. If I were a strategist within the pro-life movement, then I would want to find as many Sister Simones as I possibly could to represent my cause because the only way that anything will ever change regarding abortion in this country is if a critical mass of Democrats come to see it as a justice issue for unborn children instead of an individual rights issue. Continue reading