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July 31, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Review of Bromleigh McCleneghan’s Interview with Jonathan Merrit

Johnathan Merrit provides an appropriate preview:

Her way of interpreting the Bible is not systematic, for example, and she tends to feel her way through the text. And she also admits in this interview that her sexual ethics might not rule out polyamory.

I’m confused how the theology of Elmo and Seasame Street provides any link to the theology of God.  That is God is the ultimate frame.  How I feel is an almost entirely subjective question that relativizes the Biblical text until its meaningless.

The question of polyamory specifically highlights that issue.  She doesn’t solve anything–she really multiplies the issue (see also polyamory).

You have no notion of relationship or the expectations thereof, if the idea of an individual “feeling” dictates moral principle.

The whole point of morality, ethics, and values is to check biology–to provide accountability and justice and responsibility to its downsides.  Its not to just affirm all that biology allows.

The issue of grace and forgiveness is a much better basis on which to struggle with these issues rather than eliminating sex from our moral lexicons. [not to mention the ways she relativizes the entire text–making most all commands or principles just a question of my personal and subjective feeling at the time, not mored to any notion of wisdom or principle.]  It seems to turn humans into kids who just feel their way around and ends up justifying Machiavelli, all the dictators of history, and Donald Trump.

For clarity, this is at the end of Merrits’ interview:

RNS: What are your thoughts on polygamy? It seems a polygamous relationship could adhere to your principles here–fidelity, consensuality, etc. Can a polygamous relationship ever be “holy” in your view?

BM: Polygamy as it’s usually practiced in fundamentalist cultures – one older dude with a bunch of younger women – doesn’t pass the tests of equal power and mutuality. Polyamory, though, as a sexual and romantic relationship between three or more consenting people?  I don’t know. I think it would be really hard insofar as intimacy is hard enough in a dyad, and mutuality would be well near impossible given the even more complicated power dynamics and the reality of sin. I think there’s something really lovely about long-term monogamy that would be hard to capture with additional partners.

Whats more her last statement encapsulates her relativism.

But, just because something is outside my experience doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong.

which is a red flag that biology, culture, and radical philosophy and not the Bible is the leading principle guiding her interpretation.  Once you decide that you are at the center of the text, rather than God and that you are the authority rather than God, the ethics unravels and the principles unravel, and you’ve turned the world upside down with you at the top and God under you.


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