Life is Complex

Originally uploaded by kspencerg.
Sometimes you wish things were as straightforward as some people make them seem. There are some preachers that I listen to and everything's just black and white for them. Take the jewelry question for example. Seems straightforward enough. 1Timothy 2:9 says, "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;"

That seems straightforward enough, right? Sure! Until you read the Bible and the pericope next to the one about jewelry says plainly that a woman should keep quiet in church (1 Timothy 2:12). If that's the case, in my faith tradition (Seventh-day Adventist) the prophetess Ellen G. White was out of line and should never have preached a sermon in church. And we should remove every female Sabbath School teacher from the upper (adults) and lower (children) divisions of the Sabbath School. No more ladies leading out in personal ministries or health ministries spotlights between Sabbath School and the Divine Worship service.

It seems straightforward enough. The Bible says all kinds of stuff that we don't do anymore. If we took the Bible at face value, we would be offering up goats and calves. But we understand context -- the Bible was written in a certain, its moral imperatives happened in particular places and under specific circumstances.

And unearthing the moral imperatives that come across the interpretative bridge is a sometimes COMPLEX process.

I could spin this thing out from jewelry to marriage and divorce. The Bible says that we ought not get divorced and that God hates divorce, but some of today's situations are so COMPLEX and the difficulty with defining porneia in today's loose society is not as straightforward as it used to be.

What constitutes sexual immorality? Before it was simply sleeping with a person other than your spouse. But today, what constitutes biblical grounds for divorce? We've moved from magazines like Larry Flint's Hustler that was 20 or 30 years ago the subject of lawsuits on free speech to online websites, chatrooms. You've got folk of the same sex doing things with folk of the same sex, but not intercourse. And the list goes on and on. Well, I guess it's not as straightforward as it used to be.

I don't even know exactly why I'm writing. Just a bit overwhelmed with how complex everything seems to be. I am comforted with the fact that no matter how diffult life gets, I serve an Omniscient God. He has all the answers. And James counseled us, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5).


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