Beyond Tolerance

Posted: August 3, 2010 in Life

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.


A fellow blogger named JustMe posted a comment on an excellent blog written by Carmen.   In it, he quoted a Bible verse that supports the above scenario.  It’s the passage in Deuteronomy 25:5-10.

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?”

  1. momma fargo says:

    Great post! Loved it! I think you should love your neighbor unless he steals your shit and then call the cops…and still love him for the sap he is but lock everything up. If everyone loved their neighbor, maybe they wouldn’t steal.


    • If love is an action and not a feeling, then it’s easier to grok it. Some people you’re supposed to love – like family – I can barely stand. I suppose I can “love” them in the sense that I’ll find a fire hose and put them out if they’re on fire but I surely do not like them. *laughing*

      I had a brother in law who broke into my house to steal some meds one time. The police were called. I was called some pretty awful names for ratting him out (I did my own detective work on that one, which wasn’t difficult, as he was a complete doofus). Never lost a minute of sleep over that one. Easy to love the police. My brother-in-law? Not so much.

      Maybe Jesus would let me make an exception here. You think?


  2. Just Me says:


    As soon as I found that I thought of a similar situation to the one you wrote about. I’m sure there are hundreds of ridiculous little nuances to the bible that people pretend don’t exist.

    Here are 2 more examples for you. I’m fairly certain this would scare most religious women, at least those who aren’t virgins when they marry, to death if it was still brought forth (Deuteronomy 22:13-21). This one is just plain wrong…..very, very wrong (Genesis 19:31-36).

    Thanks for turning this one into a little story for us, and I hope those links work okay…


    • The links worked fine – and thank you for posting them. It’s funny – I’m used to hearing pastors teach that “well, those loathsome laws don’t apply today”. But the fact is, you can’t have it both ways. Either all of them applies or none do. If we’re going to give gay folk the evil eye, then we’d better give football players the same eye. And we’d better collect a hell of a lot of stones while we’re at it. (And by the way, did your kid not take out the garbage? Did he refuse? That’s not right. Is he allergic to rocks?

      I prefer Jesus’ much more inclusive answer to it all.


  3. izziedarling says:

    Wolf – this is so good. So good. The ground is level, period. Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future and all that stuff … glad to find you. You write so well.


    • Thank you, Izzie! I like how you put it.

      Not sure I”m quite “there yet” when it comes to giving people the benefit of the doubt but…I don’t think that changes the truth of things. :)



  4. contoveros says:

    You killed me with that comment about Republicans!

    You’d make a good preacher, Wolf. Where should I send my donations?

    Nicely done and a heluva lot more spiritual than what you could find on most other channels on the ‘Net.


    michael j


    • Thanks Michael. I wondered if anyone would catch that. Thought about putting Dems in there too, but figured I’d just leave it alone. :)

      Seems ironic to me that while Jesus preached so much against religion and religiosity, his followers were so starry-eyed about him, that they elevated the following of him to religious status. Understandable, but definitely – I’m fairly sure – not what he wanted or expected.

      But then (*cough*) NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition.

      (Sorry. Had to go there)


  5. Mikey says:

    Wow. Family of the Unsandaled, eh??? That would indeed suck.

    I thought those heavy stone tablets could have been a lot lighter. I don’t see a need for more than one Commandment –

    “Thou shalt not be a dick.”

    ’nuff said.


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