A wide spot in my imagination.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Earlier today, I took part in a panel of religious leaders who presented a workshop for our local school district personnel. The workshop focused on diversity.

My fellow panelists were cordial, humorous and honest. Overall, a very good experience.

Toward the end of the workshop, an audience member asked about our views on counseling homosexual teenagers. Our responses varied.

One of my fellow panelists used the standard line of "loving the sin, hating the sinner." Homosexuality, he made clear, is a sin.

Today is Martin Luther King Day, so I thought about race relations in the context of sin. Once- upon-a-not-so-long-ago-time, what Dr. Kind espoused was a "sin." For black people and white people to commingle, intermarry -- some people called that a sin.

One of the other panelists who took the view of homosexuality as sin, is a Baptist (the tradition of my rearing and formal education). In the 1700s in Virginia, Baptists were banned from, and put in jail for, preaching. I don't know if the religious leaders of the day used the term or not, but I bet there were orthodox believers of the day who thought these baptists were "sinners." Their crazy baptism-by-immersion ideas were certainly heretical.

The list of "sins" is long and ever-changing. Women preachers are called sinners. A friend of mine tells a funny story from the early sixties were a church member told her "mixed bathing was sin." Turns out mixed bathing, was boys and girls swimming together.

To some people, wearing makeup is a sin. Or wearing jewelry. For others, using birth control is a sin.

Seems to me that "sin" changes. Cultures change. We should remember that. And be careful.

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