There was a time when the church supported slavery. She used scripture to back up her position. There was a time when the church excommunicated a member for divorcing, and until quite recently, many churches would not permit a divorced member to hold a position of leadership. Again, scripture supports this practice. Many churches still hold that wearing makeup and extra adornments is sinful, tattoos an abomination, and that women should not teach or have authority over men. Scripture backs them up.
What convinced the church that slavery is really a crime against humanity? I mean, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters . . .” and all.
There is no longer male or female. The distinctions are irrelevant, inert, meaningless. Paul said that he wished for all to remain unmarried, but knew most would not be able to live a life unattached to another human being. The point of Christianity is not that people should marry. The point is that nothing else matters except that we live lives intentionally – to make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, one spirit. There is one God who is above all, in all, through all. Captivity itself is now made captive itself. Christ descended and ascended so that all is filled by Christ. We are all filled with God’s graces in full measure. All, in full measure.
These graces afford us powerful gifts: some as apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some shepherds, some teachers. I see nothing in all of this that says, these gifts are that some are African, some Asian, some male, some female . . . . I cannot find anywhere that says, these gifts – the very power of the Holy Spirit, consuming fire – these gifts gift some to marry. Rather, the Ephesians 4 passage explains that the Spirit and all her gifts is entirely for the purpose of equipping us to build up the Body – a unified, whole Body – not to create more schisms, slicing off a hand here, an ear there.
Sure, there are secondary texts that give instruction for family members. But these are clearly cultural practices, not with direct bearing on why Jesus came, what the cross was for, the vehicle by which we are brought into communion with God – reconciled, Shekinah.
Christ came so that all would be made right: between me and God, between me and you, and between us and all creation. Christ came so that all would be made right: that we would live in unified communion – as the first people lived before their eyes were opened to surface truths, blinded to the inner realities of image-bearers and their God. Christ came so that all would be made right: that we would covenant with one another – choose each other, and choose each other again, and again, and again . . . .
Christ came so that all would be made right: that we would live by covenant; that we would covenant with one another irrespective of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ascribed gender, marital status.
Christ is all and in all.
All of you are one in Christ.
In the one Spirit, baptized into one body, all made to drink of this one Spirit.
Christ came to make all things right: that all will know we belong to Christ – by our love.