[percy-l] Judgement and Pride
PARLINS at culver.org
Sun Aug 17 15:00:53 EDT 2003
Again, our problem is not that we judge too much, but too little...far far
too little. We are too tolerant of wrongful behaviors, (and the Church is
no exception to this).
If a parishoner admonishes (judges) a priest for fondling her teenage
son/daughter, is that prideful? (Apropos, I think...this hideous scandal was
only possible because of a LACK of judging by Church authorities!!! And
look at the terrible consequences!!!).
If a woman admonishes (judges) her next door neighbor for showing the
neighborhood children pornographic pictures, is that "prideful"?
If a parent admonishes (judges) a boy for kicking the dog...is that
If a teacher admonishes (judges) a student for cheating, is that "prideful"?
If a friend admonishes (judges) his diabetic friend for eating too much ice
cream, is that "prideful"?
If a pastor or priest admonishes a couple for having adulterous swinger
parties because it's not only unhealthy for their relationship (and their
children's well-being), but because it's scandalous and unhealthy for the
community (for it flies in the face of healthy social structure evidenced in
all socieities, and not merely supported by theology but also history and
research and dare I say common sense), is that prideful?
If a man admonishes his friend for having incestuous relations with own his
daughter, is that prideful?
If a woman admonishes her friend for her promiscuity, is that prideful?
HARDLY...in each case (and there are an infinite number of cases like this)
they are acts of LOVE...fierce and courageous acts of love. AND they are
Karey... we MUST judge. In each of the above cases the person doing the
judging obviously sees a little clearer than the person being judged. True,
we should not attempt to remove the speck from another's eye until the plank
has been removed from our own. For example, if I were sleeping with 20
different women, some of who were married, I could hardly judge my friend
for cheating on his wife. But, if I then stopped philandering...l
could...and indeed must... admonish him for his adultery ---out of LOVE for
him (and his family).
In each of the above cases, the plank HAS (more or less) been removed from
the eye of the person who is doing the judging, at least in so far as the
plank obscures one's ability to see that particular wrong.
It's wrong to kick a dog; wrong to molest; wrong to cheat; wrong to risk
one's health; wrong to show porno to children; wrong to do any number of
Moreover, in each case above the person doing the judging has not determined
the wrongness of the behavior on his/her own. The rightness or wrongness is
clear and self-evident. Why? Among other things, our experience and common
sense which is informed, or at least directed, by the Natural Moral Law.
(Which is as changeless as the law of gravity, by the way, and great harm is
done to those who ignore it's binding properties).
However, if no one were to point these wrongs out --Indeed if they are
enthusiatically inverted-- the clarity can become muddled and less and less
self-evident. And is demonstrated with the recent priest scandal....terrible
harm is done.
This is what has happened with homosexuality --or any number of deviant or
immodest or behaviors. Unless this sort of behavior is challenged, only
great harm can come of it.
Now, there is no question that men and women feel overwhelmingly compelled
to their own sex. But, that alone means absolutely nothing. Homosexuality is
a deviant and unhealthy expression of love. There are people who fell
overwhelmingly compelled toward food, acts of agression, little children,
etc... So, in the same way that violence is a deviant and unhealthy
expression of anger, homosexulaity is a deviant and unhealthy expression of
love. Simply because the impulse is there, no matter how overwhelming it may
be, acting on it is wrong and harmful. It's harmful to those involved and to
And, so long as I can resist acting out my own perverted desires (keep the
plank out of my own eye), I will continue to judge the perverted behaviors
In fact, I am counting on others to judge me, for I am weak...and were it
not for the accountability that I have to the judgements of my community,
family, friends, God and church... well... I would be a very bad boy.
From: Karey L. Perkins [mailto:karey at charter.net]
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 1:39 PM
To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
Subject: Re: [percy-l] God's Gender and Ham Sandwiches
Thanks for the reasoned response - quick reply: You say we should judge for
ourselves what is right and wrong. Yes - but to apply to our own behavior.
(And, as a side note, it's a complicated involved and thoughtful process
that isn't simply listening to what someone else says or a "literal
interpretation of the Bible" (since it seems clear we've established that
"literal" meanings vary depending on who's reading them - we here can't even
decide on the meaning of "marriage" or "homophobe" or etc.). )
However, I don't think we do much good for anyone, including ourselves, by
judging others -- if we're busy taking the mote out of another's eye often
we have a log in our own - as someone on the list already said. We have so
many more important things to do for them. (Jesus declared our most
important admonishments are to love God first, and our neighbor and
Do you really think the fact that the Pharisees never questioned Jesus about
homosexuality is the reason that he never mentioned it? Are all the things
we have recorded about Jesus in direct response to the Pharisees or issues
of the day?
I was being slightly facetious with the cross-dressing and ham sandwich
thing (as I guess you picked up) - the point was we go around violating
God's law probably multiple times every day and others could just as easily
admonish US for that. Better to pay attention to our own behavior than try
to change others'.... If we judge them, we put ourselves above them (pride
- the greatest sin), and usually we're not paying attention to what we need
to do spiritually ourselves.
Paul's comments were more culturally determined (the "po-mo-phobes" in the
bunch will probably hate that remark) and much of what he said regarding
social groups and social arrangements (women, homosexuality, marriage,
dressing, etc.) can be read as influenced by his social context.
Do you want to hear MY judgment (since I'm being accused of the "sin" of
postmodernism by withholding it)? OK, let's get technical here: Dante
places the sexual sinners in the first or second (I forget which one, but
it's early) circle of his Inferno. That's because the sexual sins
(adultery, etc.) are a kind of "missing the mark" of the greatest virtue,
love. And that's where our homos would go IF indeed Paul is right that they
are sinning. But those guilty of the sin of pride are MUCH further down in
Dante's scheme. I'm with Dante on this (who was decidedly un-po-mo).
----- Original Message -----
From: Tim Cole <mailto:tcole at adobe.com>
To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical <mailto:percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 1:56 PM
Subject: Re: [percy-l] God's Gender and Ham Sandwiches
In addition, the surrounding words of this name of God have feminine
inflection, further emphasizing the feminine nature of this side of God.
I think it's reasonable to think that God is a mix of what we would label
both male and female traits...and it has implications in what Genesis says
about marriage between man and woman.
In Jewish tradition, to say that God is only male and not female is
blasphemy because it is limiting God.
Agreed. We see through a glass darkly...
And I firmly believe not only should we not judge, but we accomplish nothing
(only harm) by judging.
We are called to love.
We are also called to discern, test the spirits, test doctrine, hold fast to
that which is good. We can't do that without making moral or epistemic
judgments. If you're saying that not judging means not being able to do
this, then I disagree and think you have problems with both the OT and NT in
what it affirms and commands with regard to conduct.
I think what we're told not to do is judge the hearts of others...things
that only God can know.
Jesus also never said anything against homosexuality.
Which is not surprising since there wasn't a gay rights movement in 1st
century Palestine. It wasn't an issue, like divorce, around which there was
much theological debate. The Pharisees tested Jesus on the hot potatoes of
the day...homosexuality wasn't one of them because Hebraic culture and
theology condemned it una
Leviticus DOES say a man shall not lay with a man as a woman, but the
literal interpretation means "DRESSED" as a woman (hence literally it's a
polemic against cross-dressing???)(!).
The literal interpretation of what word(s) in Leviticus 18 or 20, exactly?
Shakab means to lie with sexually. Odd that an admonition about cross
dressing would be so badly misinterpreted by Jewish scholars for so many
Leviticus says it's an "abomination" for a man to lay with a man as a woman.
However, Leviticus says exactly the same thing about eating pork - that is,
uses exactly the same word - translated an "abomination" - to describe the
act of eating pork.
At the risk of getting sidetracked into a protracted debate about the Bible
and homosexuality, the revisionist arguments of Boswell and others have been
refuted thoroughly and frequently. Suffice it to say that ham and
cross-dressing comparison isn't valid (there are both ceremonial and ethical
abominations...they are different...one is associated with the Works of the
Law that defined Jewishness [and about which Peter had to be sorted out via
a vision in light of Gentile believers], the other is a fluxless universal
ethical standard), and the Biblical teaching in the subject goes way beyond
the statements in Leviticus. There's Romans 1, and, perhaps more
importantly, there's the description of marriage in Genesis. You can
understand the Biblical position on homosexuality not just based on the
prohibitions, but also the affirmations.
The marriage of man and woman is a picture of the full nature of God (as
referenced above), and it is the divine plan...according to the Bible, at
least. This union is what the Bible affirms and what both OT and NT morality
are designed to protect and help flourish.
Of course this is not an excuse for real 'homophobia,' whatever that is, or
gay bashing, but it does constitute Biblical grounds for condemning the
behavior...or so I believe. ;^)
An archive of all list discussion is available at
Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy
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