Sins of Scripture?

Posted: June 21, 2011 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Gospel of Matthew 11: 16-30

Sins of Scripture?

 

The Gospel today was a story in
which Jesus was directly addressing the religious leaders, that is those
entrusted with mentoring and shepherding the young and new to the faith.  What was his message? YOU HAVE MISSED THE
POINT!

 

Yes that is right, he is pointing
out how the faith and the name of God has been used to abuse, traumatize, and
frankly instil fear and hatred into the individual and community instead of
what the core of the Law & The prophets is, L-O-V-E.

But
we can sit here, comfortable in our pew, harrumph and go, well that was then,
we are reformed, we don’t do that.  Yet
yes we do, and here are some messages you may have heard in your life:

Jesus
is the only way, or you go to hell.

10%
at least of your money goes to the church or you’re not going to Heaven.

Men
are the heads of a household, and women/children are to be subservient.

Spare
the rod, spoil the child.

Homosexuality
is an abomination before the Lord.

Men
who lie with men shall be stoned.

Divorcees
are adulterers and shall die.

The
Jews killed Jesus.

And
from our own patron, Martin Luther, who we extol, people with disabilities are
spawns of the devil and shall be terminated.

But
what is actually happening within these texts?

See taking a short piece of scripture
and claiming the black and white on the page is the answer, is what the
Unresponsive generation was doing.  So
here is some fleshing out for you:

Jesus
spoke of the way of love, that love of the holy, self, and neighbour as being
the way to create the reign of God here on earth.

The
tithe, biblical, essentially in ancient Israel they were a travelling tribal
people that were agrarian, that is grew crops, hunted, if in their travels they
did not give 10% of crops and live stock to the Levitical Tribe, they would
have died because they’re role was the spiritual.

The
head of household is poppycock, why? Simple it removes the whole letter which
spoke of mutual love and respect, loving your spouse as Christ loved us, yet we
have used this writing to allow for spousal abuse, and loss of women’s rights
throughout history and that is wrong.

Spare
the rod—it has been abused, we look at proverbs as holy words that are to be
used to live life, they are folk wisdom, just collecting that for a tribal
people in a time and place.  It is not
literally about allowing to beat your child, which at one point was used to in
grain in law the rule of thumb, as long a switch no thicker than a person’s
thumb was used it was okay to beat a child.
What it is actually speaking of, is teaching a child how to live life,
discipling not disciplining.

Divorcees/adulterers,
it was a small community, and this was tied to marriage laws that included
intermarriage with other peoples being band. Which we used to say Metis and
Aboriginals were less than human in Canada. Why? Simple survival and
laws inserted into the text post exile to ensure that those from exile that had
married the “masters” would not be forgiven. It truly had nothing to do with
what was stated. As well, it was part of the removal of women’s rights to
eliminate the fertility god/goddess worships picked up in Babylon by putting women on the “evil”
spectrum.  Adultery was something
adjusted from death, to simply saying whether it was consensual or rape, the
man just had to pay the purchase price for the woman.

The
Jews killed Jesus, quite the words, found in the Gospel of John, why? Simple,
for the early church the term Jews and/or Romans were interchangeable with the
oppressive powers of the day. We lost that meaning, and such statements have
been used to lead genocides against the Jewish people stemming from the
crusades of the 800’s forward to the genocide of Nazi Germany, and finally our
own Aryan Racism in the streets of Calgary.

And
Martin Luther, who probably had some PTSD after the lightning bolt thing,
statement about the disabled, came out of the Gospel readings of healings and
seeing that it was “demons” cast out.
This was a historical understanding that missed the point, Jesus was
pushing the cultural boundaries of the day and forcing the oppressors to
realize everyone belonged in community.

Finally
this brings us to the texts of homosexuality. NEWS FLASH: the term
HOMOSEXUALITY as understood in today’s world. It was not a discussion of
committed relationships between consenting adults. For a Roman it was a right
of passage, and “older” uncle taking a boy of 8-12 to his bed while on a
“journey”. In Paul’s writings in fact, he is speaking out more about acting
contrary to created nature that is a heterosexual individual having promiscuous
same-sex relationships and vice-versa, a person in the LGBTTQ community,
forcing themselves into a heterosexual relationship.

The
passages in Leviticus and elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible actually speak more to
a specific context.  See, the chapter in
question 20 was inserted by priests upon the return of the people from exile in
Babylon, so
circa the Ezra-Nehemiah writings. Essentially the temple practice of
Babylonians, that the Israelites had gotten into, was to find salvation, have
communion because Baal is a religion of fertility, the arrow and cave
symbology, was you arrived at the temple, self pleasured until aroused, and
then proceeded to have intercourse with whatever was available, whether it be
the priest, priestess, temple prostitute, or the animal you were to
sacrifice.  So this is a very specific
socio-historic context that it is addressing.

What
do all these misused texts have in common though through history? Simple, it is
giving us an avoidance tool. Avoidance because it allows us to puff up in
self-righteousness, create those moments to say, look how holy I am, and how
unholy that person is.

But
this is exactly what Jesus lived and taught against. It is a system of
oppression. There are two things that come to mind when I think of how God
works in illuminating things.

1)
I was reading a book by Stephen Hunter, a mystery
novel, but in it a character, a Methodist Minister, makes a comment about what
church is, he spoke of the person in his church that was the wealthiest giver,
gave the most, and as such believed that he could act and behave in any abusive
manner possible because he and his wife were the “Patriarch/Matriarchs” of the
church, and the minister finally confronted him about his behaviour, and the
man said “This is MY church” and then went on to list the litany of literal
laws he followed including his giving.

2)
The second comes from a wonderful documentary, the
Nature of Existence, with a guru speaking about the misuse of the name of God.
“People say after a disaster that it was God that saved them, but when you look
at the others who lost their lives I cannot hold that it was God’s will, it was
life, God is not that petty as we want to believe”.

This journey started with the words
of Jesus around an unresponsive generation to a calling. We are a church that
is hearing a calling, and many, at least 40 congregations in Alberta, have chosen to close their hearts
and to continue to live in “self-righteousness” they have left. They have
chosen not to respond to the call of building the Reign, the community of
empowerment and love. They have not looked interior, to those apart of the
“faith family”.

Do
we truly know the stories of those in the pew next to us? Do we know what
effect our words have? What our use of the name of God or scripture can have?

Are
we willing to risk? To truly step out in what we profess to believe about the
Love of God and Christ, the hope, and say you know what, we are the children of
the most high, we are ALL called blessed, beloved, and it is time to LIVE IT!

Are
you willing to respond to the heart of the Gospel to love the lord your God
with your everything, and your neighbour as yourself? To throw of the shackles
of religious oppression to actually live into and out of that simple four
letter word L-O-V-E?

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