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Religion, Faith and the Glbt Community
A Ground Level View from a Faithful Exile
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Ordained minister in 1996 and a lifelong member of the GLBT community, Rev. Carpenter takes a look at the historical, cultural and societal pressures at work when the Judeo-Christian religion was in its infancy, the struggle to translate and interpret ancient scriptures, then discusses the long term effects this pressure had on the religion we have today. Failure to take the history and culture of the time and the history of the Bible into account when reading scripture only gives a partial picture of what is expected of us by God. For instance, quoting from the most popular manual of moral doctrine in the Middle Ages, St. Jerome insisted that, "A man who loves his wife very much is an adulterer. Any love for someone else's wife, or too much love for one's own, is shameful. The upright man should love his wife with his judgment, not his affections."
Where did the idea that women were the cause of the downfall of Man, was it from such pronouncements as this from one of the Early Church Fathers; "If there dwelt upon earth a faith as great as is the reward of faith that is expected in the heavens, all of you, best beloved sisters (would rather) walk about as Eve -mourning and repentant. This would be in order that by every garb of satisfaction she might the more fully expiate that which she derives from Eve -the shame I mean, of the first sin, and the odium attaching to her as the cause of
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Reverend Sarah Carpenter was ordained in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in religion and philosophy. She received a master's degree in Biblical Studies in 2000 and was awarded a doctorate in New Testament Studies in 2006. Reverend Carpenter has two adult daughters and recently retired after 33 years in clinical engineering. She is currently living in Massachusetts.