The woman dressed in black frowned, reached down and grabbed the sandal off the man’s foot. He looked at her, a question mark in his eyes.
She gathered up all the spit she could; reached down deep in her throat for more, and then, after pulling her head back, she shot forward and hocked a loogie at him. Right in the face.
Wiping the spittle off, he glared at her. “Why?”
“You damned well know why! You’re supposed to marry me, you idiot.”
“But…but….my brother’s not even cold in the ground. You’re his wife. I don’t want to marry you. I’m…I’m…in love with someone else.”
“Doesn’t matter, does it?”
One of the elders shuffled in his black gown. “According to the law, she’s right.”
And she was.
It made me laugh. Of course, no fundamentalist Christian church would ever suggest anything like this is necessary today, even though it’s in the Bible. Yet, many have no problems pointing out other Old Testament rules and laws to support, in some cases, outright bigoted viewpoints. I won’t go into it all – but would suggest you go over and have a read of Carmen’s blog. It’s enlightening – particularly the clip from West Wing that she included.
On my walk to work this morning, I couldn’t help thinking about the whole thing. Probably the best place to get an idea of what God’s mindset might be on all the things we struggle with, is to read what Jesus had to say, and consider the context in which he said it.
I don’t think anyone will disagree that He had a big problem with religious types. He was the Jewish religion’s troll back then. While he respected the synagogue, and the traditions, he did not tolerate the two-faced nature of so many who called themselves leaders back then.
They constantly challenged him, mostly about the Law.
“Look” he said. “Park your mouths for a minute, all right? The entire law – the ENTIRE thing – is wrapped up into two laws. Love God and love your neighbour.” He said that was the point of everything. Forget the little rules, and the nit-picky stuff. Just concentrate on those two things.
Can you imagine the objections? “But what about those fucking faggots? What about divorced people? What about thieves? What about the fucking government who wants all of my money? Look there’s a tax collector now.”
“Yes, and I’ve invited him to follow me. You have a problem with that?”
Oh, and if you don’t think those guys swore, you haven’t been around fishermen very much. If you wanted to learn how to swear, you went down to the docks and you hung around there for a while. That was an education and a half.
These weren’t gentle religious people, his followers – not at all. These were loud, drinking, boisterous men who would have been glad to punch you in the face if you dissed them. Witness Peter grabbing a sword and cutting off a man’s ear.
Unfortunately the writers of the Gospels didn’t pay too much attention to the rabble who followed him – their focus was what Jesus said and did. This man was a breath of fresh air to them. He did and said things they had never thought of, before. He made God real to them.
Of course, you can bet they didn’t like bullshit, and when something wasn’t clear, they were quick to challenge it. “Ok Jesus – I’m supposed to love my neighbour. But who is my neighbour? Surely you just mean the Jews, right?”
Jesus told them a parable about a filthy disgusting Samaritan. A non-Jew. Someone they would normally not spend two seconds thinking about. Bottom line: your neighbour is the guy next to you, who you can best love by responding to his obvious need.
“You don’t mean the faggots, right?”
“But not Republicans”
“Uh, but not atheists.”
“What part of ‘everyone’ do you not get?”
And he didn’t mean love them in a patronizing way, the way so many well-meaning Christian do. He meant, as a fellow traveller on the earth. I think he meant that we need to recognize that all mankind reflects the image of God. That we’re pretty much on a level playing field, in God’s eyes. There is a bit of His DNA in all of us. And we probably should recognize that.
“Well ok. I can love most of them. But not the radical Christians OK? I can stomach almost everyone except them.”
“What do you think?”