I’m grateful for two pieces in Wednesday Journal in recent weeks. The first, about the “Repro Shabbat” at Oak Park Temple B’Nai Abraham Zion, was timely as our church recently completed a sermon series about reproductive justice and Rabbi Max Weiss was one of our guest speakers. Rabbi Weiss was generous with his time and wisdom on this knotty issue and he brought new insights to our parishioners.
The second was a letter from James Hanert in response to the Repro Shabbat article [A Biblican rebuttal, Viewpoints, March 1]. In that letter, Mr. Hanert quotes from one of my favorite pieces of Scripture, Psalm 139. Interestingly, he cites verse 13, which more than a few of our LGBTQ+ members also cite when they embrace their gender and/or sexual identity: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made …”
The challenge of citing the Bible when it comes to cultural or political issues is that there is often someone on the other “side” who probably does the same thing. I’ve certainly quoted Scripture when advocating for the poor or the undocumented. Indeed, Psalm 139 has its own challenges. If one keeps reading that psalm, they come across this difficult verse: “O that you would kill the wicked, O God, and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me …” (Psalm 139:19). Do we really want God to kill the “wicked”? Though we might confess from time to time that our lives would be easier if our political enemies didn’t exist, in our more rational moments, we certainly wouldn’t pray for that.
In my tradition (United Methodist church), we often look to four areas that help us interpret what God is doing in our world today: Scripture, tradition (how those who have gone before us have believed/thought), reason, and experience. We use these tools when we do our best to discern God’s heart on any number of things, both large and small.
Mr. Hanert lifts up one of those, Scripture. In the Repro Shabbat article, Dr. Allison Cowett speaks to many other important considerations (including Scripture). All are important. All are needed, especially when we consider how any law might affect the marginalized and oppressed.
Rev. Christian Coon
Pastor, Urban Village Church