Ideals before Prohibitions

This was similar to a “compromise” that I suggested at the start. It’s in practice exactly what the status quo in the CRCNA is now. There are now likely, quietly, people who are members and even office bearers in the CRCNA who have closeted relationships and even marriages. I’m sure there are local churches that are quietly accommodating, adapting, looking the other way, keeping things quiet, etc.

While I’m sure there are conservatives that don’t like this it is likely something they can tolerate. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

I go back to my 3+ hour argument about ideals and lived reality. The ideal is M/W4Life. That’s what the church celebrates, elevates, promotes, pursues. Ideals are exactly that. They are also nested. Ideally there are children, fidelity, happiness, joy, sanctification, etc. Every marriage, even the M/W4L ones fall short of the ideal, but the church celebrates the ideal. Lots of other ideals in language, diet, ethics, etc. Ideals are vital for a community to agree upon and to strive towards. It’s part of the point of God’s Son. He’s the standard. He’s the judge.

M/F4L is the marriage ideal. We’re still in the grips of whether or not marriage is the ideal over singleness. There according to Paul it gets contextual. I’ll let that debate go for now.

Most of what we do in the church is to try to help people, as best they can, with the circumstances they find themselves in take steps towards ideals. This world is not ideal and none of us achieve ideals. We seek grace and betterment.

In ever pastoral situation we negotiate with less-than-ideals. We have lots of variables. Sometimes I give addicts a little bit of money. It’s less than ideal but I judge, rightly or wrongly in the moment whether or not it’s better than alternatives. My sermons are less than ideal. Lots of what I do are less than ideal, pretty much everything, but the maintenance and quest to know and attain the ideal is crucial for the shape of the community.

The LGBTQ liberation movement has become about destroying the ideal of M/F4L. It’s just that simple. And it’s evolving fast. Those who are seen as “out in front” of this movement can’t say what the ideal is. Increasingly “marriage” is not a part of the ideal because it is unattainable for many. We have forgotten what an ideal is, what it is for, and how it shapes life and even blesses those who can’t attain it. We see ideals as unjust because they judge those who fall short and there is no room for such judgment in the new world order.

Increasingly gender liberationists can’t even give a definition of “what is a woman” because again having such a definition is said to be “unjust” to people who claim to feel like a woman but have a penis. I agree that churches should have space for people who “feel like a woman but have a penis” but that is different from giving up on the ideal of what a woman is.

Nate was right when he said that the moment the CRC passes a local option the “cause for justice” will be to do what we all know will be done because we’re watching it in the public/political/corporate world. Monogamy itself will be seen as unjust because some people can attain it while others fail. Note this piece. Most Cis People Are Unwilling to Date Trans People According to This New Study | them.

It’s absolutely predictable. As if all of us don’t have friends and family who NEVER get a chance to date because for one reason or another they are unappealing on the dating market. Somehow the cause of justice must step in and denounce the bigotry of your own decision to NOT service the needs of others desires. Marriage vows usually include “forsaking all others”…

The “social constructionist” argument is that “representation matters”, and now the conservatives agree. The LGBTsQewing of America – The American Conservative

We are tremendously malleable in terms of sexual and romantic taste and desires. Ideals count a lot.

So Len, in many ways you’re advocating for what we’ve had BEFORE the progressives kept demanding Synodical report after report hoping that if we put enough nickels in this slot machine at some point we’ll inch our way into a more progressive position. The 2016 decision to “rig” the Synodical report slot machine should have signaled that the herd was getting nervous and that perhaps if progressives wanted to maintain the sublte “don’t ask don’t tell” status quo they should leave well enough alone, but the cry for “justice” must never be denied so push push push…

That might be overstating it a bit. “What do we do with the lesbian couple who comes into the church” is a fair question and it is CRC tradition to “seek advice from Synod”. But is that really how churches make up their minds these days? Underneath this process a certain corruption has also developed. Synodical reports also have the outcome of “moving the ball forward” or “binding the hands of our neighboring churches”.

Another example? How about the “elder marriage in the church but not the state because of retirement money” issue. I’m sure there has been plenty of “local optioning” on that score. Conservatives like the “Synodical report” game too. If we get our way we like it, and we do need order.

I do think shifting the focus from “that which is permissible” to “that which is ideal” helps on the pastoral front, but it’s clear that many people formed by the culture that see this as a “justice” issue (in the way that term has shifted) will NOT find compromise acceptable unless it is done so in the spirit of gradually “moving the ball forward” to a line they cannot nor will not be able to agree upon with those in their coalition. pvk

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
This entry was posted in Saved CRCVoices Posts and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s