Now we have a “friend” in Kansas, pastor Curtis Knapp of New Hope Baptist Church, who preached this past Sunday that the government should be killing all homosexuals. He defends his words using the infamous Leviticus 20:13: “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act. They shall surely be put to death.”
OK. Now I know there are lots of other passages about lots of other things as well, but that’s beside the point.
After 23 years of practicing Catholicism, I do not know the Bible nearly as well as many of my friends who are affiliated with other Christian denominations. I also have a couple of friends who have really spent the necessary time with the Bible to make their own meanings of what the Book has to say. These are the people that I trust a bit more on the subject of biblical interpretation, as they have taken the agency to understand the message on their own terms.
So let’s be clear: I am not a Bible scholar, nor do I pretend to be one. But I listened to the Gospel enough times as a kid and a young adult to know that Jesus would not be dealing with these statements so well. If the teachings of Jesus are the foundation of Christianity, then some of these preachers and pastors are speaking from buildings that are about to sink into the ground.
And this strict interpretation of the Bible that people use raises another point for me. Jesus seemed to have a lot of gray Crayons in his Crayola box. He was not a “black and white” or “either or” kind of guy from what I can tell. I write that with all the respect in the world, and because I think I internalized some of that viewpoint as a kid listening to the stories of Jesus forgiving sinners, spending time with the disenfranchised, and sacrificing his life for the sins of the world. If this is what Christianity is about and we’re supposed to be living our lives based on the teachings of Jesus, as outlined by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, then these pastors and preachers who keep talking about deep sixing the gays are clearly not paying attention to the teachings of Jesus.
Now I may be missing something from the Book, and I’m not dealing with the Old Testament. But the preachings that have come to light in the last few weeks really call into question how people are choosing to ignore the gray in the world. For me, Jesus was all about embracing the moments of gray in the world. And isn’t having faith supposed to be about believing in and embracing the gray of the unknown?