Monday, April 28, 2008

Stocking Walleyes, Homosexuality, Pauline Letters and the Church

The walleye is Minnesota's state fish. It's also Minnesota's sacred cow.... um, well fish. Each year the Minnesota D.N.R. raises and stocks millions of walleye fry or larvae and nearly 200,000 lbs of various sized fingerlings and adults. All of this is to support a fishery that can't support itself naturally ......... or maybe not. For nearly 35 years, studies from all over North America have demonstrated that stocking walleye has little influence on populations. There are of course exceptions, but as a rule, dumping 500 walleye fingerlings into "Fish Lake" isn't going to do a darn thing to make walleye fishing better. Yet we continue to do it. In fact, in the face of growing scientific evidence that it doesn't work and may even suppress naturally produced populations in some instances, the Minnesota D.N.R., under great pressure from resort owners, guides, and the aquaculture industry, has actually increased the number of walleyes that are stocked in the state's waters over the last 10 years. They've used up unknown gallons of fuel, wasted man power that could be used to address declining water quality and habitat alterations, and degraded countless wetlands that at one time were fishless. At what point do we discontinue to do something in the name of tradition that may affecting natural populations, is wasting a lot of energy, and costing the average "Joe" about $2,000,000 a year? When does scholarship and science start to be taken seriously?

A couple of weeks ago during the class I'm taking on Paul and his writings we were discussing the various texts related to homosexuality. Again, a good number of scholars, particularly those who are concerned with the societal context in which Paul was writing, agree that he wasn't speaking about homosexuality in the way that modern eyes would see it. We are able to see it as two loving individuals that are willing to make a committed relationship to each other. Paul saw it as rape and what we would consider pedophilia. In Paul's world, men of lesser standing were raped to remind them of their status in society and young boys were often kept by men for "sexual release" (for further reference I would point you to any books or writings by Wayne Meeks or Dale Martin). The instructor for the class is solidly in this "camp". At one point during the conversation, someone asked why, despite the evidence to the contrary, does the magesterium of the church still insist on using Pauline writings to condemn homosexuality? Why are homosexuals not allowed to participate in the church? His response was basically, tradition. So, again I ask, when does scholarship begin to be taken seriously? When do we look at traditions that are outdated, and hurtful and say enough is enough?

At some point, perhaps not in my life time, the worm will turn ......... the question is, which tradition will hold?



jeanne leigh said...

Hi Jeff,
Wandered over here today. Will try to visit more often. I have to Amen everything that you said in this blog! Hurts my heart soooo bad that homosexuals are so rejected and excluded from the church. I had the joy of experiencing one day of Reconciling Ministries Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska a few years ago. Talk about a beautiful service! I was so touched by the beauty and love and true worship that I experienced in this service. OH, if people would only open their eyes. Anyway, thanks for expressing these beliefs. You have lifted my heart today! Peace, your friend, j

Michelle said...

Thanks for your thoughtful words on this difficult topic.

Jeff Reed said...

Thank you to both of you. It is certainly due to thoughtful people like you that I can maintain some sense of hope.