基督教倫理回應: 婚前婚外性行為

之前做 present 負責做倫理回應果一 part,嘗試用德性倫理 & 侯活士作為另一進路去回應呢個 topic。

其實呢個回應其實唔係一個直接嘅回應,雖然規條式教導比較簡單同清楚,但往往失卻信仰帶來更深入更徹底的改變,治標不治本,只能為信徒羣體在相對穩定的社會環境帶來較表面的見證。選擇以耶穌基督的故事為中心去塑造羣體的品格某程度就是放棄規條為主,藉教會群體的傳統,其宣講、聖禮及門徒操練等踐行建立信徒嘅品格從而作見證。

純粹做功課吹乜都得,但係要係信仰羣體脫離規條講品格談何容易。

我覺得香港教會不乏在聖經裏抽取有關婚前及婚外性行為的經文並加以解釋和闡述婚前及婚外性性行為是不合神喜悅的事的資料、講道和教材,為數不少的香港教會在紀律手冊裏也清楚列明婚前性行為和分內性行為的定義、聖經基礎、原則和處理方法-停止聖餐,停止事奉,接受輔導,對於不悔改者甚至逐出教會。但是還是有教徒沒有因為聖經對婚前及婚外性行為,教會的論述及規條選擇而不去發生婚前及婚外性行為,又或者能勝過性的試探。

聖經中有記名的大衛之妻有八位,還有眾多妃嬪。大衛在性上面的敗壞,不只破壞上帝一男一女的創造秩序,還有貪戀別人的妻子別示巴終把,不單與她發生婚外性行為,最後還用詭計把烏利亞殺死,並把烏利亞的妻子別巴據為己有。上帝因為這些事審判和懲罰大衞,但上帝卻稱大衛為合神心意的人,他什麼東西合神心意呢?大概不會是在婚前及婚外性行為的倫理議題上罷。

潘霍華在團契生活一書説教會是上帝的真實性在世界具體的表現,上帝透過拿單宣判大衛的罪和他所得的懲罰,大衛認罪及願意接受懲罰。雖然大衛一生犯下不小的罪,上帝卻稱大衛為合神心意的人。教會也得思想怎樣處理(處罰,教導及同行)犯了婚前及婚外性行為的弟兄姊妹才能展現上帝在世?教會怎樣處理才能使弟兄姊妹像大衞般成為合神心意的人?

要成為一個合神心意的人,不是單靠做了些什麼事,而是在於你是怎麼的一個人。做怎樣的事取決於你是一個怎樣的人,但只做怎樣的事不能幫助你成為什樣的人。或許侯話士的德性論理是另外一個進路,就是以聖經中耶穌基督的故事為中心塑造徒群體的品格藉教會群體的傳統,其宣講、聖禮及門徒操練等踐行,將耶穌基督的生命故事教導信徒。侯話士的和平和非暴力,以至聖經中其他的德性成為基督徒的德性,並「帶著獨特的視界(vision)來面對世界,成為另類的城邦」。「讓教會成為教會」,便是最有力的倫理回應及見證。

Stanley Hauerwas @ Fuller’s Symposium on the Integration of Faith and Psychology 2011

By curiosity, when I was preparing the group presentation, I would like to know how Hauerwas see psychology and Christianity. Google, as my best friends, gave me this. Hauerwas delivered talks in  Symposium on the Integration of Faith and Psychology 2011 at Fuller Theological Seminary. It’s about his experience with her wife who developed mental illness (also in  Hannah’s Child) and the theological reflection and the integration with psychology. 3-hour talk. Looking forward to see it all

 

Review: The Gift of being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Becoming Your True Self

In the section “An Identity Grounded In God”, Mr. Benner said “No one born with an identity, and Jesus was no exception” to emphasis that Jesus is a fully man (although he is fully God at the same time). Thus, Jesus has to discover who he was when he was growing up.

The Bible for Protestant does not include much detail about Jesus’s childhood, expect “a few stories of visitors during infancy and the family’s movements to and from Egypt” and “his visit to the temple at age twelve” and stayed in Jerusalem “sitting among the doctors”, listening and asking questions without follow his parents to leave for home. Mr. Benner tried guessing how Jesus had grown humanly from an infant to the age of twelve.

Mr. Benner believed that Jesus, no different from other children, was “in relation to their parents”. However, Mr. Benner believed that Mary is very prominent as she was a woman “apart from all others” by quoting Luke 1:29, 42, 38 – a most blessed woman highly favored by God being selected with “standfast confidence in trustworthiness of God’s love” and willing to humbly surrenders to God’s will. Jesus learnt by witness his earthly mother Mary and internalized all these, together with the possibility of “deep conviction that he was the “Son of the most High””, “visits of the shepherds and wise men”, “prophecies of Simeon and Anna” and his family viewing him as “the promised and long-awaited savior” to Israel.

To be honest, I am less convicted of the speculation made by Mr. Benner – if this was not something recorded in Bible, I believe there could be other sensible guesses. After all, a woman “highly favour by God” does not necessarily meant that favour comes directly from her good faith. And even she has a good faith, does it necessary means that Jesus had to learn through Mary? Apart from this, can we have better or other valid guesses? Any impact if development along this chapter was build on this?

Going back to the incident at 12, when Mary found Jesus with the doctors and she expressed her emotions.

“Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Luke 2 v48b

Jesus replied

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2 v49-50

and Mary didn’t say a word and the bible said Joseph and Mary didn’t understand. What if she understood? My guess is that she would probably remember or understood without puzzling he was the Son of God? Probably she can relate this incident to what she had experienced. Let’s think this way, if we were Mary (no matter you are male or female, come on 🙂 ) and we experienced Luke 1:26-38 at their time, can we fully believe what we were experiencing? For me, I would probably doubt if I was in some kinds of mental disorders. As the story continues to unfold in Luke 1 v39 and beyond, Mary may get a bit more understanding, probably until Jesus was hanged on the cross, incinerated and resurrected she got the full picture what’s meant by the Son of God and the Savior.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the work and effort of Mr. Benner to integrate psychology, personal growth and Christian spirituality. The Gift of Being Yourself also gives insights and reflections along the way I read it and I would recommend it, but just that there was a few points that I have some doubts and need further research.

TheGiftofBeingYourself

Limit & Guidance

But a lot of ways has closed behind me, and that’s had the same guiding effect… there is as much guidance in what does not and cannot happen in my life as there is in what can and does – maybe more.”

“… I was raised in a subculture that insisted I could do anything I wanted to do, be anything I wanted to be, if I were willing to make the effort.”

“My troubles began, of course, when I started to slam into my limitations, especially in the form of failure”

“If you are like me and don’t readily admit your limits, embarrassment may be the only way to get your attention… finally, I may forced to face my nature and find out whether I can make something of both my gifts and my limitations.”

(Ch3 When Way Closes @ Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation – Parker J. Palmer)

Thinking of my way forward… I can’t accept not trying but pushing brutally also harms and result in failures. There are limits, accepting them requires self-acceptance.

Somehow, there may be chances to get through them sometime in the future. If that can be breaking through, I learn to see them as opportunities to growth. If that can’t, I learn to accept it as part of my imperfect self, learn to forget the way closed and to take ways still opens.

Acceptance, Change & Courage

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_Prayer

 

Accept something that I can’t change and not take it too personal. Seek for courage to change for those I can and the wisdom to distinguish in between.