Transition from High School Brings Change in Thought

Transition from High School Brings Change in Thought

Natasha Weisenbeck
Contributing Writer
natashaw@goshen.edu

I draw as a spiritual practice. One image I created in high school included a simple, beige-skinned man (Jesus), a sexualized female image with a snake armlet (the Tempter) and between them, a non-descript human figure. On each side, I surrounded the images with words. “Compassion” and “hope” lay opposite  “greed” and “lust.”

While finishing the image, I thought about any words I might have missed. I thought of homosexuality. I had not included it. My face flushed and my shoulders tightened as I put it next to “lust.”

The rush of blood to my face and the stiffness my shoulders felt were unfamiliar to me then. Now I recognize them as the feeling I had when my dad wanted me to return a used item to a store in a new box. It’s the feeling that causes me to cross out words in my journal and forces me to wait and meditate until words of truth come from my pen.

I was experiencing untruth.

It has been a long journey for me spiritually and theologically at GC. I froze in my seat the first time Paul Keim suggested some biblical passages might have been written for political purposes rather than as divine revelation.

I blushed when Duane Stoltzfus said he did not believe accepting evolution in any way compromised his faith. The conflict of the idea made me feel small in my seat. In that smallness, however, there was also a bubble of hope.

This professor exhibited, arguably, all the fruits of the spirit. He also could accept something that my home community (and therefore, my faith) would see as blasphemy.

Yes, I know: accepting evolution as true or understanding the Bible as a historical document is not a comparable act to homosexuality. Choosing a life partner, however, is.

Before I started dating my now fiancé, I was scared. I didn’t want to end up like my parents; I wanted to do things “the right way” and make “the right choice.” I scoured the entire Bible for information on relationships during my winter break my first year at Goshen.

I didn’t find many good examples. Instead I found polygamy, adultery and maids treated badly after being told to sleep with their mistress’s husbands. Daughters were sent out to be raped and a widow seduced her father-in-law to produce a child. There were forbidden interfaith and clan marriages, prostitutes and a man marrying a woman who was going to have a child out of wedlock.

Most of these characters are considered good and just: David, Abraham, Esther, Ruth, Lot, Tamar, Mary and Joseph.

In Ezekiel, the Lord does not condemn Sodom for any sexual injustices. Sodom is condemned for being “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned.”

Likewise, the bits of positive information I did find on relationships also warned against arrogance.

I realized God does not care who I marry. Through scripture I see that God cares if I love and respect the person I marry. God cares if I love and respect others. The Lord does not require us to wear specifically colored shirts or to decide who can be married and who cannot.

We are required to love kindness, do justice and walk humbly with God.

Record
Written by Record

1 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    March 24, 2014

    Such theological flexibility is breathtaking. Bolstered on by the proclamations of doubt by those that would chip away at the authority of Scripture, with this line of reasoning one could use Scripture to justify almost anything one wants.

    The Bible is full of real-life stories of failure, fault, and tragedy, often involving heroes or heroines of the faith. In fact, there are very few Bible characters about which nothing bad was recorded. But the Bible is also clear about what is sin. And fortunately for us, when we see that the towering pillars of the Faith Hall of Fame also needed to repent and overcome publicly humiliating sin, then we should be encouraged to overcome our own failings with the help of the same God that carried them through. The flawed logic above is, ‘They sinned and God accepted them, therefore sin doesn’t matter to God.’

    Our God is a God of Truth. He is Truth. God went to great pains (literally) to explain what is right and wrong, and reconcile sinful man unto Himself. But He didn’t change the rules. He didn’t declare that sin is no longer sin. Rather, He chose to pay the awful costs of our sin in His own Son. Such love and justice is nearly beyond understanding!

    Another side effect of such theological flexibility is that guys like me, who study God’s Word with the notion that God’s Truth can be known (because it is self-consistent — truth), are arrogant to hold (or express) such opinions. Before I say anything I am the bad guy for thinking to say anything that contradicts the enlightened opinion of the author. And, so far, this ‘pretzel logic’ has worked on a lot of good men who are doing nothing.

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