"Pastor, I have a question about your sermon notes," said a visitor to our church. He had underlined one of my bullet points listed on the back. Each week I provide additional information, research that may not fit into the preached message (for it is too technical or tangential), but may help stimulate further discussion.
My point was worth discussing. It read: "Not
only were monogamous, same-sex marriages envisioned in Eden, they were affirmed
by Jesus and other NT authors (Matt. 19:1ff; 1 Cor. 7:1ff)." The phrase "same-sex marriages" was underlined. I gasped.
To be fair, my sermon was crafted as an endorsement. However, homosexuality was not its candidate. I aimed to endorse greater equality and, thus, more leadership opportunities for women in the church.
Captivated by William Webb's "redemptive hermeneutic" in Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals, I find a compelling argument in comparing the ethic and narratives of the Old and New Testament against their surrounding cultures (e.g., Ancient Near East and 1st Century Mediterranean). Women stand out as YHWH's heroines, Jesus' disciples, and leaders of the early church. My sermon sought to endorse the return to Eden, where the image of God reflected equally among male and female (Gen. 1:27). To take a verse out of context: What God has brought together, let no one separate (Matt. 19:6).
One of the primary arguments against expanding the role of women in the church is considered "The Slippery Slope" argument. Once you open the doors for women to preach and teach, you might as well invite the gays to lead a parade for Sunday worship. The logic is terribly flawed and fear-driven. Ironcially, the glaring typo in my sermon notes had me sliding head first into the mud puddle of moral relativism at the bottom.
"Wow. Thanks for pointing that out," I said to the young man. "It should read "Hetrosexual" marriages." Fortunately, the young man was a former intern at our church. And better yet, a lady who overheard our conversation added, "Don't worry. No one reads your sermon notes."
Or my blog.