Friday, January 22, 2010


“You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.”  Or so Arlo Guthrie tells us.  But if you want to hear music and watch a concert you can get anything you want on youtube. 
I had an eclectic evening on youtube.  I don’t stick to Christian music as I used to do.  Not that there isn’t good Christian music on youtube.  You can hear and see Keith Green.  But today I was interested in something else.
I started and ended with Jethro Tull.  Hearing Jethro Tull is wonderful.  Watching them is well over the border into amazing.  The lead man, Ian Anderson, who sings, plays acoustic guitar and the flute has a stage presence all his own.  The music is raw, the singer looks crazy and the music is free.  Don’t take my word for it.  Take a look at “Thick as a Brick.”  It took me back but it also put me in one of those wild moods that only Jethro Tull can produce.
Then I switched over to Blood, Sweat and Tears, at least for a bit.  I was looking for their old version of “God Bless the Child".  During my search I listened to Billie Holiday, Diana Ross and Blood, Sweat and Tears.  I thought Diana Ross sang it best but the instrumentals were best by Blood Sweat and Tears.  Who knew back in the late sixties and early seventies that Jazz could be so popular?  And such a big sound too with all the brass and saxophone.  I dropped in on an old version of “When I die” as well.  I felt joy and hit by a wall of music.
I listened to the great Louis Armstrong, my favorite by him “What a Wonderful World.”  The great Satchmo gives me hope for humanity and makes me think that there really is a way to peace.
I couldn’t skip The Who.  My favorite, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” informs my opinion of politicians, the human predicament and good and evil.  Political leaders, after all, are human.  They can do some good.  They can fail miserably.  But when it all ends they never fulfill their campaign promises because there are all those other politicians trying to stop them and humans can’t achieve miracles.  “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”  Still, I love Pete Townsend on guitar, doing his act. But I don’t approve of destroying perfectly good instruments.
And then to Celtic, Christian (sometimes), rock, jazz fusion: Iona.  Who else combines rock guitars, bass, drums of various sorts, (including old Irish and Scottish drums), keyboards, flute, sax and, of course, bagpipes.  For something completely different listen to their “Dancing on the Wall” and “Catslerigg.”  Yup, that guy is playing the bagpipes.  The Irish/Scottish mix fills me with joy and their hope in Christ gives me hope.
And back to the beginning, Arlo Guthrie.  Arlo’s getting old but he still tells a great story and 
sings great ballads.  His introduction to “Flying to Los Angeles” is hilarious in a folk doper
 kind of way.  Oh, and the song itself. 
But my favorite is by Arlo is still “Alice’s Restaurant.”  Ten minutes into talking about Alice, the
 dump closed on Thanksgiving and a trial before a blind judge he tells us, “And we was fined 
$50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but that’s not what I came to tell you about.  
Came to talk about the draft.”  Huh?  And then that great line about the physical, “They got a 
building down New York City, it's called Whitehall Street, where you walk in, you get injected, 
inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected.”  Arlo reminds me of my not so 
innocent youth and the horrors of Vietnam (and therefore also of Iraq and Afghanistan).  
Joy, anger and sorrow mixed.  
Music does wonders in catching us up to heaven, getting us down and dirty, and speaking 
about real problems for real people.  
And just in case you think it can’t wretch your heart and put you in tears, listen to Arlo singing 
about old trains and deportees.
Thank God for the gift of music.  It makes life more real.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


This is probably my favorite song by Iona. That may be because it comes from a prayer by St. Patrick. It also has something to do with the combination of Celtic mysticism, rock and jazz. But most of all it is my prayer for myself each day. Along with the rest of the prayer.

This is the whole prayer:

The Lorica, or, St. Patrick’s Breastplate
(the version from the Book of Daily Prayer, PCUSA)

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
his baptism in the Jordan river;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spiced tomb;
his riding up he heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.


We live about 5 miles from Philadelphia airport.  The BIG Philly airport.  There are a couple of smaller airports around town.  You would think that we couldn’t hear each other talking in the living room, but the take off and landing paths don’t go over our house.  The jets land coming down the Delaware River and take off over Delaware Bay.  The little planes, turboprops and business jets take off over Sharon Hill.  So we don’t hear much airport noise at all.  There is a plan on the part of the airport to change the take off lane so that it will go over the richer neighborhoods but we here in Sharon Hill just smile as the wealthier folks complain.  We don’t hear much noise.

Except on cloudy nights.  As we walked the dog tonight you could hear every jet take off and land.  I think the sound must bounce off the clouds.  It isn’t too loud.  But it is interesting.

I know, this wasn’t theological, ethical or political .  Just an observation on God’s world and the noises humans make.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


In reading various articles about Martin Luther King yesterday I noted that people across the political and theological spectrum (well not the Klu Klux Klan or the white supremacists) claim him as their own. I suggest that the only group that can really claim him as its own is African Americans.

I suggest that there are at least two reasons that almost everyone wants to claim that Martin Luther King is like them. The first reason is rather cynical. He is famous and now well loved by most in America. To say that one is on his side is to try and burnish one’s own image. There are many who did not support him and his ideas when he was alive who seek to claim him today. I think this is either careful forgetting or out and out lying.

The other reason is more complex. Martin Luther King was a complex character in American history. He opposed the war in Vietnam which caused the loss of support for him in some political circles and prompted others to say he had gone off message. He hadn’t. The war in Vietnam was unjust. King opposed injustice. And though I do not know if he made this connection in any speech but African Americans were disproportionately represented among the troops sent to Vietnam.

His language and speeches were Biblical. When among groups that were mostly or solely African American he spoke out of that tradition including the tonal qualities of many African American preachers. One can hear the tonal qualities in his "I have a dream" speech and his immersion in Scripture in his final speech when he talks about seeing the Promised Land from the mountain top.

His insistence that poverty was a core issue of racial and social equality earned him enemies among capitalists. People called him a communist. The FBI developed files on him that suggested that he was followed by agents.

His commitment to nonviolence made enemies among some African American groups like the Nation of Islam (Malcolm X being one of his chief critics).

I suggest that it is time for white folks to stop claiming that Martin Luther King was like them. Instead we should look to him for inspiration knowing that he was human but also a great leader from whom we can learn how Christians can face real evil and defeat it through a commitment to the true meaning the Gospel.

Would that we could see him as an example to be emulated and pray that God would send us such leaders again.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Way, way (way, way, way) back when I was a member of Carlisle Presbytery I was part of a pastor’s group in the presbytery called “The Cleric.”  We would get together every month, hear a book review and a paper by members of the group and then have dinner together.  We took turns with the book review and the paper.  This was in the 1980s.  We had a blast.  There was some theological diversity and we were able to talk about our differences and still accept one another.  Besides that if you wanted to be in the power group in the presbytery you went to the group.  A lot of presbytery business was done over dinner.

One time when it was my turn to present the paper I used family systems analysis to talk about the PCUSA.  Back then the political situation was different.  Or maybe not.  In any case I suggested that the PCUSA was a dysfunctional family and that the Presbyterian Layman was the designated problem within the family.

One of the curious things about the designated problem in a family system is that he or she tends act in ways that fulfills the designation.  The designated problem will act out, seeking attention and thereby reassure the other family members that the designation is correct.  But the problem with designating one member of the family as the problem is that the family then does not have to look at the fundamental problems in the family system, the real cause of the dysfunction.

Back then (and let’s face it they haven’t changed) it was easy to designate the Layman as the problem.  While providing information that it is difficult to get elsewhere without hard work the Layman put a spin on the information that always suggested that the PCUSA was terrible and going down the tubes. 

It is my observation today that the Layman is no longer the designated problem in the PCUSA.  Or Layman is no longer the sole designated problem.  We now point fingers in all directions accusing others of being “the problem” in the PCUSA.  Who are the designated problems in the PCUSA today?  The GA office and those who work there.  The Washington office.  The Stated Clerk.  Those homosexuals.  Feminists.  People who say that there are others ways to salvation besides Jesus.  The Layman (they haven’t lost their status), Evangelicals, those in the middle, etc. etc ad infinitum. 

Curiously most of these groups also see themselves as powerless in the PCUSA.  We have an ongoing problem with groups seeing themselves as THE victims in the PCUSA.

This does not mean that there are no victims in the PCUSA.  There are.  But so many groups are seen as the problem and see themselves as victims that it is terribly difficult to have conversation about anything.  Some seem to think, (those on the right) if those on the left would just leave the denomination everything would be fine.  That would mean that homosexuals, those who have, let’s call it a more “open” theology, Socialists, (or at least those the right thinks are socialists) Feminists . . . well the list is long.  Others seem to think that if those on the right would go ahead and leave (as they regularly threaten to do) things would be great.  Or course they have to leave their property.

I’m not entirely sure if having more than one designated problem is better or worse.  Nevertheless family systems therapists regularly point to the way the people in the system communicate and the way the system works as the real problem, not the designated problem person (people).

I have seen family systems theory work to help a congregation get beyond their problems or get “unstuck.”  But I don’t know how to do it for a whole denomination particularly when you can’t get all the people into one room to talk about it.  Nevertheless I suggest that our problems are not primarily the ones that we bring to the fore.  It isn’t that those issues are not important.  It’s just that how we deal with the issues is more important if we are going to have a family that functions well together.

Although they did not use the specific language this was one of the messages from the PUP Task Force back in 2006.  Presbyterians weren’t listening to each other.  I’m not sure their other solutions were as helpful but their recommendation that those who disagreed should sit down and talk for a couple years in small groups was a good one.  And Presbyterians still aren’t listening to each other.  Winning is more important than being one if Christ.  To be honest we can’t even define what it means to be one in Christ!

So as we go back into another GA season all the groups (many of whom see themselves as victims and others as the problem) we get ready again for the great battles.  But no matter who wins the battles the denomination will lose unless we find a better way to be the PCUSA family. 

Of course if everyone thought like me everything would be fine. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I sent the letter below to the Layman in response to their article about a presbytery that dissolved the relationship between a pastor and a congregation on the recommendation of an Administrative Commission. What concerns me that the elders from the congregation and maybe the pastor didn't seem to understand their rights under the constitution of the PCUSA.  At least the article suggested this.  I would think and hope that any congregation being "helped" by an Administrative Commission would carefully read the section of the Constitution on the responsibilities of an Administrative Commission and then compare the Constitution to the charge from the Presbytery to the Administrative Commission.  The article was not terribly clear about the original task assigned to the Administrative Commission or about the rights of members of presbytery to file a remedial case if they thought something was done incorrectly.

Here is my letter:

Upon reading the article about the Mansfield, Ohio congregation and what was, in effect, the dissolution of the relationship between the pastor and the congregation I was surprised that the only reference to the Book of Order was to 9.0505, which talks about administrative commissions. There are a couple of references in Chapter 14 that are just as important:

G-14.0600 Dissolution of Installed Pastoral Relationships

G-14.0610 Dissolved by Presbytery
The pastoral relationship between a pastor, associate pastor, and a church may be dissolved only by presbytery. Whether the minister or the church or the presbytery initiates proceedings for a dissolution of the relationship, there shall always be a meeting of the congregation to consider the matter and to request, or consent, or decline to consent to dissolution, as provided in G-7.0304a(3).

G-14.0613 The presbytery, through its committee on ministry or an administrative commission, may inquire into reported difficulties in a congregation and may dissolve the pastoral relationship if, after consultation with the minister, the session, and the congregation (G-7.0304a(3)), it finds the church’s mission under the Word imperatively demands it.

These two sections of chapter 14 say that the congregation must also meet and vote on the dissolution of the relationship between the pastor and the congregation no matter what the presbytery has done. Further I would hope that the report of the administrative commission and the motion before the presbytery would specifically quote the last part of 14.0613, “it finds the church’s mission under the Word imperatively demands it.”

Due process in chapter 9 means that everyone has a chance to talk with the administrative commission.

Fair notice shall consist of a short and plain statement of the matters at issue as identified by the commission and of the time and place for a hearing upon the matters at issue. The hearing shall include at least an opportunity for all persons in interest to have their positions on the matters at issue stated orally.

Due process does not guarantee the right of the pastor or session to face accusers when an administrative commission is dealing with the situation. The right to face accusers is available only if misbehavior rises to the level of an offense, meaning when an individual or sometimes an administrative commission brings charges against someone. Then the Rules of Discipline kick in.

There is also this section of G-9.0505:

Whenever the administrative commission has been empowered to dissolve a pastoral relationship and the administrative commission chooses to exercise that power, there shall always be a meeting of the congregation at which the commission shall hear the positions of the pastor and the members if they choose to speak. The pastor shall be accorded the right to hear the concerns expressed by members in the meeting and to have reasonable time to respond during the meeting. (See G-14.0610, G-14.0611, G-14.0612, G-11.0103o).

One would have to presume (given the fact that the decision to dissolve the relationship was made by the presbytery and not the administrative commission) that the commission decided that since they did not have the power to dissolve the relationship that they were not required to hold a congregational meeting.  (At least the article did not say there was a congregational meeting.)

The Mansfield congregation, if it has not already done so, has the right and responsibility to hold a congregational meeting to vote on whether to dissolve the relationship between the pastor and the congregation (G-14.0610 quoted above.) 

One other note: the words “allegation” and “accusation” have specific meaning under the Book of Order.  They refer to charges of offense against someone under the Rules for Discipline. 

The only redress the pastor and the congregation have in relation to the pastoral relationship now is to file a remedial case saying that the administrative commission or the presbytery did not follow the rules as stated in the Book of Order.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


The laptop I used was owned by the church.  It died a bad death around the end of November, just in time to get everything ready for Advent.  One minute it seemed to be working fine and the next minute it tried to restart.  Then it said that the hard drive wasn’t working.  Then when I turned it completely off and tried to turn it back on it wouldn’t turn on at all.  It was almost 4 years old.  My estimation was that it would cost more to fix it than it was worth.

Fortunately I have a good Property and Finance Committee.  They told me to go buy a new one and they would pay me back.  I did.  But it’s hard to get a new computer these days with XP on it.  I was forced to buy a computer with Windows 7 which actually isn’t a bad thing!  Usually I wait a year to buy a new operating system so that Microsoft will get the kinks out.  But Windows 7 works well once you learn how to use it.

The point of all this is that I had to put a new hard drive in my son’s computer yesterday.  Our version of XP wanted to make one partition in the hard drive and only recognize 132 or so gigabytes on the hard drive.  Since it was a 500 gb hard drive I was not amused and ultimately put a version of Windows 7 on the hard drive.  Which put me in the inevitable and unenviable position of waiting for the operating system to load.  And then Norton.  And then Firefox.  And then Office.  The whole time I had to, again and again, watch this little circle go around and around.

So my question is this: is an hourglass more or less irritating than a circle that keeps on going round and round?  My opinion is that both are equally bad.  Which makes me very glad the church bought a new laptop.  I almost never see a spinning circle on this baby.

Anyone out there have a preference?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


There are a few Christian singers/musicians and groups that are worth hearing. Not many. Some are fantastic because they are amazing musicians. Phil Keaggy is one of them. I first heard Phil back when we were both young, 1972 at Ohio Wesleyan University. Besides writing great lyrics Phil Keaggy may be the best guitarist in the world. He can do things with a guitar that are just amazing. Listen to this one:

But I’m not here to talk about Phil Keaggy. Iona is the most amazing Christian/Celitic/Rock/Jazz/Fusion groups. Yep, they are all that and more. Who else has bagpipes and saxophones playing at the same time. Iona plays music that ranges from New Age sounding stuff, through Irish reels and old hymns to the most amazing rock and jazz. And on top of that they have mature theology too. Listen to this song about Jesus:

Great theology,I think, putting colors to the various acts of the second person of the Trinity with a wailing sax. And this is from Jesus’ comment “Where your treasure is:”

Too much contemporary Christian music sounds like the early Beatles: "Jesus I wanna hold your hand" but worse. Iona not only has great music they put theology into the music as well as the words. And if you want to hear about the beauty of the universe as well as Galileo, you can.

And an instrumental:

Mature Christian music. They may not be Johann Sebastian (but who is) but they are themselves and they sing and play the Good News better than almost anyone.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Upon rereading the Manhattan Declaration I find that it does not focus on the core problems of marriage in America.  While I agree with parts of the Declaration I remove my signature from it and make the following comment.
I believe the section about the culture of death is the center of the document and should be the core focus of the declaration.  It is connected in my mind with all the other sections.  I would go beyond the declaration and suggest that humanity is in love with the dance of death.  We would prefer to kill unborn infants than care for them.  We would prefer that the elderly and infirm die rather than care for them.  We prefer war to conversation because killing is so much easier than conversation.  We prefer to destroy God’s good earth, and therefore space for humans and all God other creations rather than be the good stewards of the earth God created us to be.  We would prefer that those who disagree with us would at the very least sit down and shut up or failing that, punish them or kill them. 
I repudiate any suggestion by any of those who signed this document that homosexual orientation or sexual behavior is to be considered criminal behavior deserving imprisonment, death or any other punishment.  I condemn the effort to make death the penalty for homosexual orientation and/or sexual behavior in Uganda.  Some who have signed this declaration have supported this sin in Uganda.  I do not and will not stand with them.
Unfortunately because of the continuing debate over homosexuality in the PCUSA, in the broader Church and in American culture we fail to look beyond the sins of homosexuals to the sins that are part of the culture of death.  It is my opinion that while we cannot (and will not) abandon the current debate about homosexuality we must place the majority of our focus elsewhere.  I make the following affirmations:
1.    The most important issue before the Church and the world is the question of life: who shall be allowed to live and who shall be allowed to die?  I affirm that abortion is sin but so is failing to provide for children after they are born.  For a few pennies a day from those of us who live in the opulent West we could make sure that all who suffer from hunger and malnutrition could be fed.  Yet we choose not to do so.  Before all other issues I affirm that all humans are to be valued, all humans deserve life, and all humans deserve food.  There can be no distinguishing between humans on the basis of race, religion, physical ability or disability or sexual orientation when it comes to being loved, accepted and most important, fed.
2.    I am convinced that the greatest sexual sin in America today is the sin of bringing children into the world who are abandoned by one or both parents.  It is so easy to turn and speak of homosexuality as THE problem.  It isn’t.  The core sexual problem in America is the failure to take responsibility for one’s sexual actions.  Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman almost always has the possibility of producing a child.  Those who take on the responsibility of sexual pleasure must also take on the responsibility for raising the children they bear.
3.    We live in a world in which many children are born who will not be raised in a loving two parent family.  It is so easy to say that heterosexual sexual activity brings with it responsibility when all too many either do not see that their sexual activity may result in a child or simply do not care about that possibility.  As children born and raised in one parent homes are much more likely to live in poverty, not be granted the possibility of a decent education and to ultimately enter the criminal justice system we must make a different life available to those children. 
I suggest therefore that, given the sinful nature of the world there is a hierarchy of possibilities for children from best to worst.  Worst, most certainly is to live without parents, wandering in the wilderness.  We in America prefer to think that this is an analogy.  In places in the world, particularly in parts of Africa today parents are killed and children are left to wander and raise themselves.  We must do better.  I condemn in particular the government of Sudan for fomenting this sin upon its children.  I call on the Organization of African Union, the United Nations and the government of the United States to act for the good of the children of Sudan.  Further the scourge of AIDS leaves millions of children without parents, to be raised by grandparents or by older siblings (some as young as 10 years old).  The richer countries and peoples in the world must provide for these children.
There are many levels of good just as there are many levels of bad.  The best for children is to be raised by their birth parents in a loving home with parents taking proper responsibility to raise the children.  Alas we live in a world where all many children are not afforded such love.  I suggest therefore the following hierarchy of good homes for children if they cannot be raised in a loving home by their birthparents:
1.    A home in which there are two heterosexual parents, one of which may or may not be a birth parent who receive help in raising children from neighborhood, society and Church.
2.    A home in which there are two homosexual parents, one of which may or may not be a birth parent who receive help in raising children from neighborhood, society and Church.
3.    A home with one loving, responsible parent who receive help in raising children from neighborhood, society and Church.
The Declaration speaks of the problems of marriage in America.  While it makes a gesture towards the core of the problem it fails to confront the bigger problems.  The major problems surrounding marriage in America are the failures of heterosexual couples who live together outside the covenant of marriage and the failure of divorce.  It is easy to point to homosexual unions as the problem.  If there were no homosexual unions in America and even if there were no homosexuals the problems of heterosexual marriage in America would remain.
In the 1960’s and 70’s Americans opened the Pandora’s Box of sexual freedom.  Responsibility for sexual action was separated from the sexual act itself.  While God gave humanity the gift of pleasure in sexual union God meant that pleasure to be enjoyed between two people in a lifelong committed relationship.  The core sexual problem in America today is that heterosexuals all too often do not make a commitment before enjoying the gift of sexual expression.  People get together for one night of sexual pleasure.  They make short term commitments.  They live together, not recognizing that by failing to make a lifelong commitment they place themselves in the position of risk to the possibility having a lifelong committed marriage.
One of the causes of this behavior is the American way of divorce.  While people make lifelong commitments when they get married, usually with good faith, they fail to see that love is not primarily a feeling but a way of living.  Our culture teaches us that love is a series of warm feelings about another that often results in sex.  When people believe that love is feelings they fail to do the hard word that a lifelong commitment demands.  Often in marriage God calls on humans to simply put up with behavior in the other that irritates.  God calls on humans to do the hard work that a lifelong loving relationship demands.  The American Church has failed to teach its members and its leaders how to live the committed life, be that in marriage or in other areas of life. 
The children see their parents separate and seek to make sure their marriages will not end in divorce by living together first, not realizing that by doing so they make it more likely that they themselves will get divorced.  A lifelong relationship demands a lifelong commitment.  There is no such thing as a trial marriage experimented upon by living together.
I freely admit that just as Pandora was unable to put all the evil back in the box so I know of no way to return to an ethic of sexual responsibility in lifelong commitment.  I have only what Pandora had: hope.
Freedom of Speech
The Declaration speaks of the limitations the authors fear will be placed on the freedom of speech in America today, particularly suggesting that changes in marriage laws that would allow two men or two women to get married to each other will limit freedom of speech for those who do not approve.  While this might ultimately happen, and currently does happen here and there I believe Americans have a bigger problem when it comes to freedom of speech: we don’t want to be offended.
Freedom of speech demands from each of us that when we walk out the door, turn on the TV or the radio we must recognize that we will hear and see things that offend us.  To live in a free society means that we all live with the possibility that we will be offended.  As soon as one person seeks to enact a law that would limit the speech of another that person takes the chance that his or her speech will also be limited.  Americans don’t consider their own history enough to understand that the possibility of offense has always been a problem when one has freedom of speech.  Early political cartoons about Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln would simply not be printed in today’s newspapers.  They would be considered too offensive. 
What Americans must understand is that freedom of speech comes with responsibility.  What one says affects others.  Robert Heinlein says that a society is on its way to destruction when politeness is abandoned.  If he is correct we are in much more trouble than the Declaration admits. 
The simplest way to act when asked to comment on the behavior of others that offends is to simply say, “I disagree.” 
More later.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Zachar, Arsen, Koitai, Malakoi, Aresenokoites and translation

Debby Berkley over at her blog "Taking the Ring" kindly hosted a bunch of us talking beyond the intent of her blog.  I, along with several others, descended (or ascended?) into linguistics  At least we were talking about the meaning of words and not how nasty and wrong each other was which was the point of Debbie's blog.

But Debbie said it was time to close.  So if anyone still wants to talk about the meaning of words in literary and historical context in Hebrew, Greek, German, English and other languages come on over!  We can continue talking about what Paul and the writer/editor of Leviticus meant (if we can indeed discover what they meant) and how those passages might apply today.

I suggest the following:

1. That the word zachar in Hebrew basically means male and that in 18:22 and 20:13 the word can only mean male, not boy or male prostitute.

2.  That the LXX used two words in Lev. 18: and 20: arsen and koitai to talk about men having sex together.

3. That the LXX in Paul's time included the words arsen and koitai and that Paul combined them in 1 cor. 6:9 into one word meaning men who have sex together.

4. That the word malakoi is a much more complicated word as it can mean everything from soft clothes to men who wash regularly, wear fancy clothes and oil and comb their hair so as to attract women into adultery.  It can also mean a man who has sex with another man and is on the receiving end of anal intercourse.

I am willing to be convinced I am wrong.  So let's have at it again.  Unless everyone is bored with the subject for now.  And if some want to move from translation to application in the modern world that's okay too