If someone wanted to engage you in a debate about the existence of gravity, would you be willing to engage? What if they wanted to debate that grass was green or the sky blue? I feel pretty safe is guessing that you would not be willing to get all fired up over such discussions unless you are one of those rare people who likes to argue for argument’s sake. The reason you would not be interested in such debates is that those matters are considered settled. There is a place where such matters are eagerly pursued, however. There is a place where arguments consider for decades, centuries, and longer despite the fact that most of the world considers the matters settled. That place is the Church.
Only in the Church are people willing to make stuff up in order to continue the argument. “Creation Science” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) is but one example. The proponents of “Creation Science” developed it to counter the theory of natural selection because they felt that evolution discredited the Bible. The sell “textbooks” and teach their nonsense at accredited institutions of higher learning (including my Alma Mater, which is why they will never receive any contributions from me), sacrificing academic integrity in order to force the world to fit their distorted perceptions and doctrine.
Most of the world has been ordaining women as clergy for some time. In the dark corners of the Church, there are still those in fundamentalist Protestant circles, orthodoxy, and Roman Catholicism who still believe that it is necessary to have a penis to be ordained clergy. Those of us who recognize this for the nonsense it is are no longer interested in debating these misogynists who hide behind false claims of orthodoxy. We have reached the point where we let them totter on in their delusion and no longer feel the need to justify ourselves to them. This is a sign of progress because we cannot allow ourselves or our resources to be wasted on pointless arguments.
That having been said, it is curious to me that there are still some issues that have clearly been resolved and yet we feel bound to continue to engage in arguments about those issues. The biggest one at the moment is human sexuality. It is splitting the Anglican Communion and threatens to split the Episcopal Church in the United States – but those bodies are not alone. All large denominations continue to struggle with the issue and most of the non-denominational Churches are almost universally clinging to a view point that simple won’t hold water.
Let’s be perfectly clear. Human sexuality is a gift, not a choice. Celibacy is also a gift, but one that very few people possess. We simply cannot make celibacy a requirement of anyone and expect them to develop a healthy sexual ethic. The arguments used to attempt to exclude people on the basis of their sexuality are poor arguments that don’t even deserve a response. The time has come to refuse to allow the Church to be mired in the muddied waters of this “debate” and to move forward together with all of God’s people to create the kind of world Christ envisioned when he walked the earth.
Leave the dead to bury the dead.