Monday, August 6, 2012


My fundamentalist Baptist childhood indoctrinated me with the notion that it was wrong to ask questions.

As I recall, we were taught to question anything in the Bible was the work of "Satan."

Perhaps it is a sign that I am 'full of the devil', but I have never been free of questions.
Case in point--one of my earliest sermons (late'60's) was entitled:


This morning Janice (my spiritual coach, and wife) shared a wonderful paragraph from the book entitled Called to Question by Sister Joan Chittister:

IF THERE IS ONE THING THAT WE HAVE ALL BEEN TAUGHT to fear, it is surely questions.
There are some things, we learn early, that are never to be challenged. They simply are. They are absolute. They come out of a fountain of eternal truth. And they are true because someone else said they are true. So we live with someone else's answers for a long time. Until the answers run dry. I know that because I myself have been caught in the desert of doubt and found the answers to be worse than the questions could ever be. [p. 2]

I have been intrigued with the current supporters of the Chick-fil-A opposition to gay marriage, based on their belief that the Bible (and God) decrees that marriage is between one man and one woman.

I am currently reading The Daily Message / Through the Bible in One Year by Eugene H. Peterson.
Now over half-way through, I have refreshed my memory of enough of the Old Testament to question whether the Bible has any coherent and consistent view of marriage. As Rabbi Rami Shapiro recently pointed out in his blog, Beyond Religion with Rabbi Rami (see "Chick-Lit" posted 8/01/12), marriage in the OT included polygamy. [Quiz: Name the one wife of Jacob? Was it Rachel or Leah? Can you say both! Check out King David and Solomon!] And my current daily readings in I Corinthians make it clear that St. Paul had a very dim view of marriage, i.e. "stay single!"

My mother in law had a friend who stated her understanding of the Biblical view of marriage:
"Once you're married you're stuck!"

Unfortunately, the fact is that many of the marriage ceremonies I have performed (my first was in 1972)  later ended in divorce. I don't have the answer to what makes one marriage last and another fail, but I'm very grateful that Janice has chosen to stay with me for 40 years come the 20th of this month!

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