回應:「身為基督徒對真愛聯盟的疑惑」-權力、缺陷、與榮耀 vs. nidor

nidor @ PTT Christianity says,

你可以自己不接受 [同性戀婚姻],但是我想你要你的孩子也學你,就是威權的洗腦了。

[引用約翰福音九:3],所以「在某人身上彰顯神的作為」不是「造物主美好的心意」?楊恩典生來沒有手,因為「在某人身上彰顯神的作為」,所以學著用腳生活。 同性戀生來愛同性,因為「在某人身上彰顯神的作為」,卻應該被改變?怎麼不乾脆說為了「在某人身上彰顯神的作為」,應該叫楊恩典把手長出來?

想問恩典比較敏感的問題。妳天生沒有手,懷孕時擔不擔心孩子也是這樣?

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以下,我的回覆:

你抓原文的邏輯依然是我看到比別人清楚的。兩點都是核心環節,而且無法絕對性地回答。我的補充說明如下:

1. 所有的孩子都需要教育,所有的教育都是一種規訓,也會涉及威權。過去讓我覺得無解的就是傅柯(Michel Foucault)對「權力」的激進理解:

知識是一種權力。那麼即使因宗教理由而不希望同性戀結合被社會常態化的人士努力提出科學證據,這些科學證據也可以透過意識型態分析而被指為一種包裝過後的歧視(如MathTurtle上文所質疑的)。對孩童實施教育包含了價值的啟蒙和灌輸,同樣也涉及知識權力、甚至其他強制性權力和威權的使用。但如果一路順著傅柯,就進入完全的解構。因為完全沒有超越的立場可以說明何種權力比他種權力具有更高的正當性是可能的。任何公眾框架下有意義的討論也會在此打住。

所以我說明兩點:
a.      在世俗框架下。孩童的監護權是父母的。教育孩子宗教倫理道德的價值觀是被宗教自由的公民社會憲法保障,我先前提過,這與中國大陸現行狀況不同。

b.      在基督信仰框架下,父母親有義務教導孩子認識上帝,聖經中甚至賦予在必要時體罰孩子的權力(我當然知道有不體罰的教法)。父母親愛孩子,儘管手段方法難免不盡完善。但如果因噎廢食(被解構論述卡住)而不教養,過犯更大。「養不教,父之過」。我承認解構和激進的權力論述都會造成很大的神學困難。這部份我期望從列維納斯(Emmanuel Levinas)的思想和與他對話作品中找到更寬廣和深入的反對表述。

但在實行面上,你的論述我可以無視。因為憲法和聖經都保障我可以也應該對孩子傳遞我認為最正確的信仰價值,包含「異性戀比同性戀更貼近造物主的心意」這套價值。

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  • kuopohung 在回應中補充:列維納斯談死亡是從反對海德格的「存有就是邁向死亡」而開始的吧。而認為 »死亡是對他者的責任 »,來談論死亡本身,並非從宗教來談。要談的話,到是可以從列維納斯談論他者的關係,但是權力和他者的關係,這個部分不是那麼容易處理的吧。

回應:正是要從Levinas 的他者現象學和他者倫理學加進來,也就是從70年代的解構現象學一路以來延續到90年代的脈絡。但「權力」這個主題比較是Foucault 那邊的系統,屬於70年代解構、後結構的那一支。當前的跨越確實是頗大,但雪城歐陸哲學學派這近十年來已經積極在做。

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2. 我不認為同性戀「傾向」都應該或可能被改變。

耶穌醫治了一些瞎眼的、瘸腿的,使其能行走。但也很多聾啞人、肢障者(如楊恩典、Nick Vujicic)、罕病患者,帶著他們的缺陷榮耀神。神選擇不醫治他們。

但如同罕病患者還是積極地尋求醫治,基督徒中的同性戀(目前在我所理解後天影響大於先天)也不應該放棄被導正性向。同時,先天為同性戀卻被強硬扭正為異性戀的作法,我也不認同。我認為同性戀基督徒應該、也可以帶著同性戀的身份過榮神益人的人生,一點都不輸楊恩典:就是接受神的安排,不再尋求生理醫治、同時對神的超自然醫治不放棄希望。同時保守己心,避免發生淫亂。這方面我的看法接近美國聖公會(Episcopal Church),多半意味著(並非絕對)同性戀者會維持獨身,如同教會中許多異性戀者也在神安排下接受自己將終身獨身或不孕的事實,但仍活得喜樂光彩。

只是這方面,大多數教會都還沒跟上。同性戀就不說了,單身和沒小孩的也在教會被歧視得要死,屢屢有類似「某姊妹單身是上帝的咒詛」或「這家生不出小孩是他先生過去縱欲過度」這類的耳語或論述。

因此,我真的覺得國際家庭日義走活動中上街喊「一夫一妻才是理想家庭」口號的基督徒存有一種思緒欠週的霸權意識。儘管他們可能不是故意的,但應該考慮到很多家庭是單親的、獨身的、父母雙亡的。他們的家庭不那麼符合聖經或社會人類學理想,但這何嘗都是他們的錯?我覺得這樣的口號呼喊來自那些出自理想家庭的基督徒衛道人士口中特別會像是一種社會意識型態壓迫。

這些人就是把稅吏撒該逼上樹的那些群眾。儘管我相信他們不是故意的-他們真的只是想看耶穌、想歡迎耶穌、想得到耶穌喜悅。但耶穌卻是穿過群眾來到這位稅吏撒該面前,告訴這位即使爬樹也要尋求聽見主的撒該:不論他過去在社會中受到多少歧視或訛詐過多少人,祂今天要去到他家中與他吃喝坐席、交朋友。)

矮冬瓜稅吏撒該的故事(路加福音十九章1-10節

以上的架構都是從聖經原則出發,也有充足實際牧養案例的。希望有解答到你的疑惑。

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關於第一點,nidor 繼續追問:

知識是實然,你的個人道德觀是應然。教育地球是圓的不是威權(歡迎挑戰,有本事就找出地球是方的的證據),教育「不准給我搞同性戀」是威權(林北說了算,再講打斷你的狗腿)。

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我的想法是,這樣的觀點就根本不需要回覆。但是可以繼續跟讀到這裡的人說明:

如果真要按照權力解構論述,地球為圓的科學「實然」也是透過經驗建構的。此外,在這麼多的「實然現象」中,為什麼有些特定歷史經驗就一定要「強迫」學童記憶和認知呢?憑什麼小孩沒有天真地相信童話世界的幻想而活的權利,而一定要認同教育當局的思考才能通過考試、畢業升學?

這些強制的義務教育、官方羅列的的科學知識系統,一如進化論與創造論教育之爭一樣,難道按照解構觀點可以不涉及威權?況且教育還會教導孩童要守法愛國,難道這些也只是「實然知識」而非「應然」的國族價值觀?

因此nidor 既搬出「權力解構」的論述,要不就只能選擇性地挑戰看不順眼的威權,自相矛盾破壞自己提出的「權力」遊戲規則,要不就只能鑽牛角尖而陷入虛無主義、無政府主義的死胡同。

我們需要的是更有建設性地看待權力的性質和檢視價值觀論述的內容。

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kuopohung 補充如下:

這是沒錯阿,基礎教育就是對學童社會化的這種理解。本來就是一種權威,一種規訓啊!

傅柯:

知識( 知識論)          ( 瘋狂史,詞與物,知識考堀)


理         權力( 倫理 )           ( 規訓與懲罰)

主體( 認識自我的真理)  ( 性史)

傅柯要問的是,為什麼這是權力? 為什麼這就是倫理。
要以一種實踐自我的主體來談,談的還是真理。(對於高達美而言,科學也是一種歷史效果意識。)傅柯在性史還拿柏拉圖幫他的倫理背書。他沒有說怎麼樣的實踐才是好的,而是實踐作為一種主體控制自我慾望的方式。他在規訓與懲罰也沒說怎麼樣的權力是不好,頂多也只是批判人道主義並不是真的人道。

PS: 還蠻多人理解錯誤,或根本沒看到這塊。

Corporate Worship Experience at NSCCC (Chn/Eng) and NSEFC

North Suburban Evangelical Free Church, 200 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield IL 60015
Phone: (847) 945-4630, Fax: (847) 945-0097, Email: northsub@northsub.com
Office Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Service Times: Worship at 9:30 a.m.

(Click on the picture to do more justice to the quality of the panorama)

North Shore Chinese Christian Church (Mandarin)

North Shore Chinese Christian Church (English)

In this article, I am going to compare the Sunday worship service at North Suburban Evangelical Free Church (While American congregation; EFCA) and the English service at North Shore Chinese Christian Church (Asian American-based multi-ethnic congregation; no denominational background) with the Mandarin service at North Shore Chinese Christian Church (NSCCC; Chinese-speaking immigrant congregation; non-denominational).

Fearing that there might not be enough varieties in these samples, I also did some web research on the churches nearby with ‘higher’ form of worship style, such as Church of the Redeemer (Anglican), St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, Holy Cross Church (Catholic), reading their bulletins and watch videos (if any) of their Sunday morning services. I also attended the ‘online’ worship service at Duke Chapel (Methodist) at Oct. 10, when they had Rev. Dr. N.T. Wright to speak at the pulpit. I will draw on these experiences in this paper for illustration when needed.

To begin with, each of these worship services consists of the announcement, hymns, several public prayers, a sermon message, the offertory, doxology, and the benediction. An analysis of these components cannot be properly performed without looking at the people, hardware, and traditions with and within which the service is taking place.

Introduction of service

I have been attending the Mandarin worship service at NSCCC for the past three years. It begins every Sunday at 9:15 with a convocation scripture reading, typically from Psalms, by the announcer. Then a piano prelude will prepared the congregants heart for worship, followed immediately by a convocation prayer led by the announcer. As I have been serving as the announcer regularly, I used to write down the prayer in prose format featuring Trinitarian doxology formula put in separate paragraphs, weaving our praise and thanksgiving in them. Some others may not prepare them as intentionally as I do.

But different churches have different ways to begin the ceremony. English NSCCC starts with some brief words greeting from the worship leader, who then will invite everyone rising up for singspiration. North Sub, differently, starts with greeting messages and church announcements by the announcer. They displayed the promotion video for the youth ministry and welcomed first time visitors before the full-fledged worship coming unto stage for singspiration.

It seems that low-church worship will lean more on words than liturgical formality. Duke Chapel starts with about five minutes of choir terzetto with organ that fills the entire sanctuary with a sublime air, and then comes the announcer to introduce bulletin items and the worship program.

Music

Music plays a vital role in all the church services I attended. They stir people’s emotions and set up the service in the tone the organizers want it to be. There have been debates over the appropriate function and style of music. Some who champion a ‘relation-centered worship’ would say that it must cater to the congregants’ taste, whereas those pulpit-centered worshipers contend that songs have to serve the sermon in a coherent way.

Mandarin NSCCC leans more to the former side, in my view. Typically after the convocation prayer we sing four songs, three being tender (or feminine) and the concluding one being majestic (or masculine) which the congregation will stand and sing. (Then our pastor will come up and lead a lengthy public prayer (largely intercessory) followed by everyone reciting the Lord’s Prayer.) Our sanctuary is rectangular; a PowerPoint projector puts lyrics on the screen board descended from above at the center stage, so everyone sits and fixes their eyes on the screen. Two vocalists (typically a male and a female; occasionally two females; rarely two males) stand at the left side of the stage by the piano.

The fact that English NSCCC shares the same physical condition with Mandarin NSCCC does not mean that the worship music will be the same (even though the part that everyone stares at the screen is similar). It should be noted that they are a young and small congregation (of 50-60), and they always have kids and small children worshipping together with the adults for singspiration. After singspiration they are dismissed to Sunday schools designed after their age groups. I believe this is a quite unique feature with good intentions. Mandarin NSCCC is not doing this, not least because our Mandarin congregants are sizer, and more so because they either have no young kids or their school age kids don’t speak the same language to them and are in the English NSCCC. During the summer when the college kids are back to town the English NSCCC would have a fuller band, such as an additional guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer. This time I took note that the worship team consists of only a vocal guitarist and a pianist. They sang to those Chris Tomlin style contemporary gospel songs (as always), but the music is very flat and the congregation tended to hold back their voice rather than contributing to it. The little kids were not well-behaving, either, even disturbing. I don’t want to say that their worship failed, but these are perennial problems as some participants observed. On the side of Mandarin NSCCC, being there for quite some years, sometimes I hope to see innovations in their singpiration.

North Sub has more organized contemporary worship. Their fan-shaped sanctuary serves well their congregation of about 300-400. Vis-à-vis rectangular sanctuary in which people sitting behind are inadvertently disinvited, the fan embraces all crowds. The dual screen allows both left and right sectors to see what is being projected, without overshadowing the giant cross sign hung on the center back wall (NSCCC’s way of screen projection does). Their contemporary gospel music is led by a full worship team with guitar, drum, bass, and piano. Instrumentalists are behind five vocalists. So no matter where people choose to sit one can always see the worship band on the stage and one of the two big screens. On the one hand, the space design facilitates a contagious atmosphere for the worship leaders. On the other hand, seizing the full space of the stage makes what is seen like a performance, about which I am not too sanguine. To soften the “dramatizing” effect, they put their pastor in suits at the center around the full band of young worshipers on stage. Standing on where we typically recognize the leading vocalist would stand, the pastor apparently does not sing with as professional voice as his younger peers, who have American evangelical contrasty and bright colors on, but I am see he is trying.

Scripture Reading and Sermon Message

Unlike NSCCC (and Duke Chapel)’s big wood podium on the stage, North Sub uses a light music stand for the preacher’s Bible and notes. This feature is pretty much in conformity with their worship style, allowing the music band a dancing singspiration and the preacher more freedom to move.

Duke Chapel uses lectionary (2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15, 2 Timothy 2:8-15, Luke 17:11-19) to guide their topic of preaching. This makes pretty hard to deliver a coherent message with exegetical depth, and the preacher (Rev. Dr. N.T. Wright) only has 20 minutes to relate to all these three passages.

The sermon at English and Mandarin NSCCC usually takes 30 to 40 min. long. At Mandarin NSCCC, our pastor is the preacher almost all the time. His messages also are not grounded in exegetical labors but are geared more toward Max Lucado-like encouraging life lessons.

English NSCCC is at the interim for a new pastor. At the service went my friend James (ThM OT student at TEDS— the bulletin mistakenly typed ‘PhD OT candidate’, an ABC who spent half of his in Taiwan and half in the US) is the guest preacher (but he is from this congregation). It is his first time preaching this congregation. So they introduced an ‘anointing the speaker’ prayer offered by a lay elder, and they had another person to read the Scripture passage, and then the announcer came up to introduce the speaker’s background. Somewhat repetitive.

North Sub is interesting. I have something fun to write here. I had visited this church before and I work for this church now so I know it is a very white church. The past Sunday, however, they had Dr. Lau from Trinity as the guest speaker. They are in the midst of their 1 Peter series and will have various speakers to cover the sessions. As I wondered how this congregation will celebrate the racial diversity among them, the long-haired middle age white gentleman greeted me, ‘Hi, Dr. Lau’.

This happened not long—but not immediately either—after I sat down; I looked at his face, responding ‘I’m not Dr. Lau.’ And I knew he was joking. But my immediate thought is: how rare do you see Asians among them that they feel it is natural to make fun of my skin color (harmless they thought and I know) as an icebreaker.

Content-wise, the message is good. Dr Lau’s Singlish accent won’t hurt.

Offertory and Doxology

Both North Sub and English NSCCC put the ceremony of tithes before the sermon and after singspiration. Mandarin NSCCC does it right after sermon. I feel better not to be asked for money ‘upfront’, maybe because this is also what my churches back in Taiwan do not do. NSCCC uses red cloth bags for tithes service, but North Sub uses pans.

For North Sub, the good thing is that right after sermon, the pastor (not Dr. Lau) calls people to stand to receive benediction and sing Trinity doxology to conclude the service. Simple and clear, so people dismissed can quickly engage in conversion with their next door neighbors despite the relatively big size of the congregation.

English NSCCC has no pastor right now. Therefore they will slip the benediction if the guest speak is not an ordained clergy—just go to Trinity doxology.

Mandarin NSCCC put the offertory after sermon, and every time the announcer has to offer a public prayer for the sanctification of this money. Then on the first week of the month we have communion. On other Sundays, we go to pastor’s benediction and sing Trinity doxology, followed by church announcements.

Personal Response

I have three reflections.

First, People like regularity and consistency. Worship service, once formalized, tends to stay that way for a long time in spite that if we learn from other churches, we may know better ways to improve the quality of the service on a God-honoring trajectory.

Second, the amount of church resources matter significantly in the quality of worship service. But it would be an undue practice to blame poor quality of worship to the lack of resources. Worship means we give our all and our best to God, and I think if we do so the worship will be contagious and God will take delight in it. He sees our heart.

Third, recently there are some literatures dedicated to expounding the theological significance of liturgical practices. They are not just obsolete customs. Rather, they shape us as a community of faith in unity with God. Too rashly we raise the slogan ‘unity but not uniformity’, while failing to first be appreciative of the forms that grant us the privileged forum to talk about unity. I mean, Jesus shed his blood and sacrificed his body in a concrete form in accordance with the Jewish practice and understanding of ‘sacrificial atonement’. Today, this should lead some protestant free churches to reexamine some of the over-contextualized worship practices in terms of our apostolic linage.