Mission Statement

The mission of The Word Made Flesh Seminar is four-fold:

1) to reframe the debate over controversial biblical laws by proclaiming our God-given freedom and responsibility to amend, annul or expand biblical, church and societal laws that no longer make sense.

2) to affirm the legal principles and system of justice established by Moses and promoted by Jesus, whose parables are legal case studies that teach how to rationally interpret, correct and improve the 613 laws found in the Bible.

3) to illustrate that by focussing on the Golden Rule taught by Moses and Jesus, which is about discerning what’s best for the common good, we can find the clarity to responsibly amend, annul or expand the 613 laws of the Bible.

4) to create coherent and practical teachings on matters of the flesh, such as gender and sexuality, which appropriately meet the burden of proof so that changes to biblically based laws are clearly consistent with the two core legal and spiritual teachings of Moses and Jesus: to love God and love neighbor.

In the world today, we now have over two billion Christians (about half are nominally Catholic and the other half belong to various Protestant sects) and about 15 million Jews (who, like Christians, are similarly divided into various factions). When it comes to sexuality, Christians disagree among Christians, and Jews disagree among Jews over very basic fleshly concerns such as the role of women, contraception, masturbation, premarital sex, pornography, abortion, homosexuality and gay marriage. In the midst of this chaos and complexity emerges the challenge of creating biblically based and rational teachings about gender and sexuality that make sense in a rapidly changing world.

Throughout this seminar, as we discuss biblical stories and teachings, our goal is to identify and define loving, responsible and ethical sexual relations – regardless of one’s religious affiliation, gender identification, sexual orientation or marital status. As we explore the many ways of understanding what the Bible has to say about sex and other matters, we will also use common sense, reason, and the modern evidence-based principles of the biological, medical and social sciences to help us responsibly negotiate the often emotionally messy complications of sexual relationships and what it means to love, whether one is married or not.

The Word Made Flesh Seminar examines the teachings of Catholic and Protestant Christian denominations, along with many traditional and modern Jewish and Islamic interpretations of scripture. However, the Word Made Flesh Seminar is nonsectarian and welcomes atheists, agnostics and people of all faiths who want to learn about how biblical laws are created, interpreted and evolve over time. Studying what the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament say about gender and sexuality is a serious and often humorous way to explore the spiritual insights of the Bible, one of history’s most influential collections of literature.

When the charge of heresy is raised in Christian communities today, there is a tendency to associate that stigma with wild-eyed radicals proposing new ideas. In Christian history, however, some of the most significant heresies have been conservative rather than radical—the tendency to hold on to old theological answers when new questions have caused the main body of Christians to move on to new answers.”

The Rev. Raymond E. Brown in his 1979 book The Community of the Beloved Disciple

 

 

 

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