Bing-a Bing-a Bing-a Bing-a Bing-a Bing-a Bing.
Today, its Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is the all important US Holiday, Black Friday. As you walk into your mega stores and shopping malls, you’ll hear the binga binga of those Salvation Army Bell Ringers. You can hear it all the way back in Row Z level Florida at the mall, really. Its loud and its ring hangs in the air with just a twinge of guilt and an all too familiar sound that Christmas is near. So—I want to talk to you about these little quarters, cents, dimes and dollars that you stuff in there, looking sweetly at the kind “homeless looking” man or young adorable child who is bing bing binging the bell and blessing and thanking you as you enter your shopping destination. (to spend oodles and oodles, like $450 BILLION, on presents… another topic, another post, anyway…)
Do you know what the Salvation Army has to say about homosexuality? Well, you should. Here I’ll give it to you right here.
The Salvation Army holds a positive view of human sexuality. Where a man and a woman love each other, sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage. However, in the Christian view, sexual intimacy is not essential to a healthy, full, and rich life. Apart from marriage, the scriptural standard is celibacy.
Sexual attraction to the same sex is a matter of profound complexity. Whatever the causes may be, attempts to deny its reality or to marginalize those of a same-sex orientation have not been helpful. The Salvation Army does not consider same-sex orientation blameworthy in itself. Homosexual conduct, like heterosexual conduct, requires individual responsibility and must be guided by the light of scriptural teaching.
Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life. There is no scriptural support for same-sex unions as equal to, or as an alternative to, heterosexual marriage.
Likewise, there is no scriptural support for demeaning or mistreating anyone for reason of his or her sexual orientation. The Salvation Army opposes any such abuse.
In keeping with these convictions, the services of The Salvation Army are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation. The fellowship of Salvation Army worship is open to all sincere seekers of faith in Christ, and membership in The Salvation Army church body is open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.
Scriptures: Genesis 2:23-24; Leviticus 18:22; Mark 2:16-17; Romans 1:26-27; Romans 5:8; I Corinthians 6:9-11; I Corinthians 13; Galatians 6:1-2; I Thessalonians 4:1-8; I Thessalonians 5:14-15; I Timothy 1:15-16; Jude 7
So queer friends and allys—how does that make YOU feel? Me, well those dimes and dollars I know they add up. And the thing is, I’d like to see them add up for organizations who are doing direct care, who DON’T feel this way. And there are plenty of them. So—I am asking you to join me this year in a little science experiment.
1. This year I will carry around with me a letter, and every time I hear the bell ring, I will walk proudly to it, and deposit this letter, instead of my money. This is my letter. Feel free to rip it off.
Dear Salvation Army:
The holidays are upon us and that means there you are ringing your bells outside of almost every place I shop. This year however, I will be placing this note in your kettle instead of my money—no matter how small or large the donation—to remind you that your position on homosexuality does not line up with my understanding of the God of love and inclusion. Because your understanding of scripture forbids me, I cannot in good conscience support your causes with my money.
The money I would have placed in your kettle will go to another organization like yours, who does not hold the same position statement as you do.
Faithfully, in Christ,
[Your Name], [Your City]
2. I’ll take whatever I had to give from my purse or the change in my pocket and I will put it into an envelope. On Monday December 28th I will count the coins, dollars and lint bits, write a check, and send it to a local direct service charity. I am thinking of Open Arms MN, District 202, or ________. (still not sure)
So, if you are so inclined, join me. Tell me how it goes, how does it feel?
Spread the idea if you like, as the saying goes, the more the merrier.
(I have made an easily printable download of the letter—Salvation Army Kettle Note 2009—for you to use and share!)