There are no particular beliefs needed to join LGBT+ Christians Southampton and Around. We welcome all who are willing to listen to other people, even if they disagree with them, and in turn, speak when and if it feels right to share their own view. All members of the group are expected to maintain the safety of the group for each other, to act respectfully of each other, and of course all our activities are within the law.
There are perhaps, several sources of authority in religion:
- The literal meaning of the Scriptures. In our view this is fine if people are prepared to give equal weight to every injunction, and not select some to condemn others
- According to tradition; this sounds attractive, but it is worth remembering that tradition in the Church has condoned torture, slavery, feudal superstructure and apartheid.
- Discernment of experience living now. This helps us to evolve in our understanding of how to use the scriptures and how to respond to tradition. This approach is equally open to abuse in the hands of powerful influencers, but it nevertheless tends to be where this group finds a centre of gravity.
Some approaches to the Bible taken by some members of the group
“ I believe the Bible to reveal God’s Word, not in a literal line-by-line way, but as it is interpreted as a whole; bearing in mind that it was assembled by men from many ancient texts, written by many individuals in many different languages, at many different times…much of what was written was word-of-mouth, handed down from generation to generation.”
“My understanding is:
- The Bible is a record of humanity’s understanding of God. It is inspired by God, but limited by humanity’s capacity to comprehend who God is, (an understanding) that evolves and regresses.
- Jesus was the living word, lived in a particular period of history. The Gospels are humanity’s understanding of Jesus within a cultural context.
- As such the Bible both points to God and “salvation”; and detracts from our journey to God and salvation.
- Our journey in life is to discern what in the Bible points to God, and what points away from God. We do this discerning through prayer, fellowship, study, worship and reflecting on our experiences of living.”
“The Bible was written in very different times. It is a wonderful collection of books but it needs to be interpreted e.g. procreation is less needed now than in Biblical times.”
“The Bible is a source of comfort, reassurance and guidance on the journey of faith. It may be inspired by God but has (filtered) through human minds so it cannot be the same as when it left God. It was written over time for different conditions so we cannot expect scripture to fit perfectly now. It has its own unique and valuable place in life, but should be used as a helpful tool, not a sword.”
“It makes no sense to base your life on the Old Testament. Those books are about the militaristic needs of a tribe. Semen had just one purpose to the tribe: to manufacture soldiers. In our day and age, that is no longer a priority- indeed we could do with fewer babies not more.”
Some very interesting thoughts by Martin C. This is how he introduces it:
The whole idea is to try and work out what the very first church ‘was like’ more than what ‘it believed’. Everyone obsesses with belief but I’m more obsessed in what things are like! So the doc is like a piece of evidence for the fellowship of original church
Which maybe our minds imagine as a sort of lost Eden type of perfect church we have strong suspicions must have existed. It occurred to me none of the scripture we have comes directly from the first church in Jerusalem. Not one writing (except maybe Odes of Solomon). Really no-one knows what it was like! We have no idea, but this is crazy there must be a way to know
I think there is, and it’s not hidden at all, it’s in every bible ever printed. But first a stumbling block to be avoided… We hear about ‘Judaisers’ who wanted to merge the faith more into mainstream Judaism with circumcision and stuff, which is hardly surprising. But it’s surely going too far to think they represented the real first church, more like an offshoot that came a bit later in those heady early days
A mistake to think these folk represented the entire first church in all its glory! Side stepping this myth helps a lot. Cause it’s the only way Paul and the first church which consisted of Jesus’s original followers seem to be compatible!
It also ties in with some other stuff haven’t got time to mention (there were millions of different Jewish sects anyway, and Jesus wasn’t much to do with the ‘mainstream’ quite the opposite!) So Paul did hang around with them for a while and picked up on the nature of the fellowship and what it was like, and took with him. He is the only witness to this, there’s no-one else that left any writings who was there
The conclusion is that from Paul’s writing and running through the rest of New Testament can easily see what the first church fellowship was like. Even if he emphasised things a bit different, the nature of the fellowship was the real heart of the faith. There’s no way Paul invented that or took it from somewhere else, he had to have got it from Jerusalem. It’s kind of obvious as the church solidified into official structured religion this gets undermined. So relevant to today in attempt to get back to the original pattern.
Martin is eager for feedback so if you want to contact him do it via firstname.lastname@example.org