Controlling languageBy Shel Boese Sioux Falls, S.D.
Matthew Morin (“Taming the Tongue,” July 23) wants to control dialogue about homosexuality, beginning with commands to “stop using …” This idolatry of language and control is about as un-Anabaptist as I can imagine. When someone lectures about the use of certain phrases, using James 3:8 as their weapon of choice and justice (their version of justice, of course) as a bludgeon, I wonder if they are unable to observe the hypocrisy involved.
I hope those who argue for a liberal reading of Scripture would be more honest and start putting forth resolutions at every level of Mennonite Church USA to change the Confession of Faith’s Article 19 on “Family, Singleness and Marriage.” They should call for sexual-identity boundaries based on the current secular cultural views that they desire.
If we’re going to throw out language, let’s also throw out our habit of tearing holes in church polity with statements like “we affirm the church’s position” while acting against it. Let’s acknowledge that we are throwing out the larger church’s (particularly the non-privileged Global South’s) voice. Let the language be even more pointed and acknowledge the desire to drive out the moderates or the more confessional/creedal conservatives while still asking them to fund our mission.
Let’s reject the assumed language and control of language that “H/LGCTQq” entails. H/LGBTQq (heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning) is a modern invention. We should reconsider its use entirely because it runs counter to the way we are called as people of God to name ourselves and identify our core. Perhaps we should add “self-identified” before the shifting “letter language” of sexual orientation. This would acknowledge that this language itself assumes a worldview and that today’s temporary soft-science categories may not be the most accurate way to speak of human identity.
Scripture does not use any of our modern soft-science views of sexuality. We assume we are more enlightened by our privileged, Western views of sex and the body. But our soft sciences are not the arbiters of capital- “T” truths. Efforts to control language do not open up dialogue but shut it down.
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