On Friday, Kathy Escobar posted the first controversial post I've ever read on her blog: "unless we're all free, none of us are free." (One of the things that keeps me coming back is that she's reinventing a very old style of rhetoric that I love to bits.)
So of course I thanked her, admiring her prophetic voice. (I actually do like the challenging power of faith; but I take that damn hymn deadly seriously, then as now. And until I get my own soul in order, I'm in no shape to use the prophetic voice; I'd just be prooftexting badly to say what I could say, more effectively and comfortably, with the radical-critical voice instead.)
And I decided to respond to one comment, because it gave me a springboard to redirect what looked like it was a hard line into a prompt for dialogue.
This is what I wrote, edited only slightly for formatting.
If I can interject for a bit: “And what about the sex?” is actually a really good question. (Because it’s both hard and interesting to answer.)
Part of the problem with sex-and-sexuality-and-gender-and-sin-and-stuff is that there are shifting standards. When we’re not cis* and hetero*, “sex” includes a LOT of stuff that ISN’T sex – by our standards or Biblical ones – but IS socially transgressive. (“Holding hands in public” is a case in point.)
I have no doubt that we could sit down and work out a list of things that are off-limits. And working off that, we could come up with a much longer list of things-to-do-that-aren’t-clearly-sex-or-sin. And I also have no doubt that it wouldn’t matter. At all. Scrupulously following that list would still get us as condemned as if we didn’t bother.
Because it’d still be transgressive. No amount of prooftexting could change that.
That's the bigger problem with sex-and-sexuality-and-gender-and-sin-and-stuff. It’s turned into a new original sin: something that we are ALWAYS guilty of, all the time, even if we’ve done nothing that can be repented for. That’s not “adulteress,” that’s “Amalekite.”
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. The bad news is that getting out of where we are is going to take rethinking the entire discourse of sex-and-sexuality-and-gender-and-sin-and-stuff. NOBODY wants to start that. So we’re gonna stay where we are. Necrotizing.