Joho the Blog » Gay rights and differential hermeneutics

Gay rights and differential hermeneutics

In the June issue of Harper’s, Gary Keizer has an article called “Turning away from Jesus: Gay rights and the war for the Episcopal Church” that I kept trying not to like, I think because he’s too right and too good. But the article won me over. Alas, Harper only posts miniature, unreadable images of the pages, so you’ll have to do something primitive like trudge to your local library to read it.

Gary paints a picture of a church traditionally less interested in enforcing doctrinal homogeneity than in ministering to those in need. He personally favors the ordination of gay clergy, but the article focuses a level up from that: How can a church handle disagreement and difference? And he explicitly applies those lessons beyond the church to the country and the world.

It made me think of AKMA‘s idea of differential hermeneutics, a theory of interpretation (which is to say, of understanding) that assumes we’re never going to agree. He opposes this to what he calls “integral hermeneutics,” which aims at resolving issues, and thus showing that one person’s interpretation is right and another’s is wrong. And, yes, AKMA is fully aware of the issues that arise from his position. (I blogged about this here.)

I am convinced that Gary and AKMA are raising exactly the right questions, and are answering them the only way that lets us live together in peace, which is not to say in harmony or quietude. And I find what they say based upon their similar religious convictions to be quite in line with what I understand the Jewish attitude toward interpretation to be: The arguing continues all the way into the next life. If you’re so lucky. [Tags: ]

4 Responses to “Gay rights and differential hermeneutics”

  1. The AKMA differential hermeneutics link should be: http://akma.disseminary.org/archives/2002_07_07_blogarch.html

  2. Actually you’re right! – I just couldn’t get it to open… http://akma.disseminary.org/archives/2002_07_07_blogarch.html#78791921

  3. Wait, I was RIGHT about an url?

    Prepare for the Rapture!

  4. Now I have to run track down Keizer’s essay, even though I was on a “No More Sexuality Articles” diet.

    Thanks for the kind words, David!

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