Doug Bennett's Blog (71)

The Reach of Divinity

What is the reach of divinity?         

This is an odd, new question to me, and perhaps odd and new to you, too.  As I reflect on it, however, I realize it is not a new question, and it is related to many questions that have been important to Christians over two millenia.  It is related even to how we read those five Bible snippets that…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 5th mo. 18, 2012 at 7:52am — 22 Comments

Homosexuality Among Friends: A Summary of Responses

 “Where are Quakers with the insistent question of homosexuality?”  Are we welcoming and affirming? Or do we proclaim homosexuality a sin, asking that those with the ‘affliction’ renounce their desires?

I asked these questions in early April seeking responses from Friends in various Yearly Meetings across the United States.  I’m grateful for the many responses that came back.  I didn’t hear from every Yearly Meeting, but I heard from enough to begin to see the pattern – and that…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 5th mo. 11, 2012 at 11:30am — No Comments

What Was God’s Promise to Abraham?

 While we’re talking about how we read the Bible, whether it is clear and authoritative with regard to homosexuality, let’s consider Genesis 13:15; 15:7,18; and 17:8.  These are the key passages in which God gives Abram (renaming him Abraham) and his descendants all the land of Canaan forever. 

 It’s quite a promise.  It’s relatively rare for God to speak directly in the Bible. This is a specific, important promise that lasts forever.  And remember Abraham himself isn’t from Canaan…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 5th mo. 4, 2012 at 9:08am — 2 Comments

Let's Have a Testimony of Intimacy

In the midst of Indiana Yearly Meeting’s ongoing turmoil about homosexuality, the Bible, and the authority of the yearly meeting, a Friend writes, “it is clear even to the casual reader that God has something to say to his people about their bodies and their relationships.” 

 What is clear to me is only this: that the many things to be found in the Bible about human bodies and relationships, especially about sexuality, make a complex, confusing and even contradictory pastiche.  I’ve…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 4th mo. 27, 2012 at 8:15am — No Comments

Making Sense of Sin

Why do I believe homosexuality is not a sin? 



At bottom, because it makes no sense to believe that it is God’s will for us to believe homosexuality to be a sin, a sin to be avoided even if that requires celibacy of those who have a natural orientation to be sexually attracted to those of the same sex.…



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Added by Doug Bennett on 4th mo. 20, 2012 at 7:00am — No Comments

The Bible Says Death to Sinners: What Canst Thou Say?

Where are Quakers with the death penalty? 

 The death penalty is a good question to consider the week after we mark Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection.  Do we believe any human being should ever be executed, whatever the means: cross and nails, electric shock, guillotine, poison gas, or stoning?

 The Old Testament prescribes the death penalty for a wide variety of misdeeds: murder, kidnap, rape, adultery, even false prophecy (Deuteronomy 13:5). 

 How about homosexual…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 4th mo. 13, 2012 at 8:01am — 1 Comment

Homosexuality Among Friends [Request for responses below]

Where are Quakers with the insistent question of homosexuality?

Are we welcoming and affirming? Or do we proclaim homosexuality a sin, asking that those with the ‘affliction’ renounce their desires. 

 Of course we are divided, some Yearly Meetings of one opinion and some Yearly Meetings of the other – though all Yearly Meetings with some dissenters from the prevailing opinion.  And nearly everywhere, wouldn’t you agree, we are inclined to silence, finding the topic too charged…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 4th mo. 6, 2012 at 8:22am — 18 Comments

Bible Authority and the Five Snippets

I understand why we should treat the Bible with exceptional reverence, taking it as the single most essential book we have among the millions that have been written. The Bible is the best account of Jesus’s life and ministry, the best account of the teachings, travels and travails of His disciples as they began to preach the Gospel. It opens with the best account of God’s efforts to draw the Israelites into faithful covenant life, an account that provides the necessary context for Jesus’s…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 3rd mo. 30, 2012 at 9:09am — 1 Comment

Five Snippets

So it comes down to five Bible verses.

The argument that homosexuality is wrong, that homosexuality is sinful, has no other leg to stand upon – if it has any at all – than these five verses: two from Leviticus, one from Romans, one from First Corinthians, and one from First Timothy.

Some want to argue that…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 3rd mo. 23, 2012 at 3:09pm — 60 Comments

Whose Water Are We Carrying?

The question of how Quakers should view homosexuality is a religious and spiritual question, not a matter of law or public policy. Nevertheless, our consideration unfolds in the midst of continuing turmoil in law and policy. And that turmoil creates an undertow that can drag our spiritual seeking to places far from God’s will.



Until the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was approved in…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 3rd mo. 16, 2012 at 11:00am — 3 Comments

Can we honor Bayard Rustin?

One hundred years ago next week was born Bayard Rustin, the man who was the principal logistical organizer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. That march took place on August 28, 1963 and was attended by upwards of a quarter of a million people. Bayard Rustin was a Quaker and a gay man.

A. Philip Randolph, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was the civil rights leader who initiated and built the leadership coalition for the March. Other leaders…

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Added by Doug Bennett on 3rd mo. 9, 2012 at 9:34am — 7 Comments

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