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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Word For The Week

I hate talking with Republicans about issues - they are so intellectually dishonest. Every Republican that I've ever talked with employs a technique of misdirection that is absolutely infuriating. In laying out my position and making my argument, they'll latch onto one minute point that is only tangentially related to the thrust of the argument and they'll try to shift the discussion to that point, to debating that irrelevant point, and completely ignore the thrust of the argument. They can't win based on facts and truth so they find some partial point within the syllogism and twist it until they have a point to debate and a leg to stand on. It's infuriating, and it's intellectually dishonest.

It reminds me of an incredibly familiar passage of Scripture where the Pharisees brought a woman caught in the very act of adultery before Jesus. The Pharisees of Jesus' day were being incredibly dishonest. They asked Jesus, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" Like today's Pharisees Republicans, the Pharisees latched onto one small piece of the truth and tried to run with it. You see, what they said was true, but it was only partially true. It was true that a woman caught in the very act of adultery was to be stoned, but it is also true that the man with whom she was committing adultery was to be stoned as well. Leviticus 20:10 says, "If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." So why did they only bring the woman?

I have a theory - it's just a theory. How do you catch someone in the very act of adultery unless they are engaged in the act in a public place? Or if you knew of the time and location where the rendezvous was to take place. My theory is that they knew this woman - Biblically - and that many of them had been with her, from the oldest to the youngest. Remember the movie Rosewood, at the end when the old White man finally told James that his wife Fanny (interesting choice of names) was screwing everything that moved and that most of the guys in the lynch mob had some personal testimonies to that effect? My theory is that the man with whom this woman had been caught in the very act of adultery was indeed one of the Pharisees - they surely weren't going to stone one of their own. Blatant hypocrisy is nothing new (IOKIYAR).

Nonetheless, Jesus was not going to let the Pharisees make a mockery of the Word of God. First, He just ignored them, but when they persisted in their ignorance Jesus stood up, looked them in they eyes and said, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." By my theory, in context, what Jesus was actually saying to them was, "He who is without this specific sin among you with this specific woman, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." The Pharisees didn't think of themselves as sinners - especially compared to someone caught in the very act of a sexual sin - and a generalized accusation of sin probably wouldn't have had the effect on them that Jesus' words had here. Have you ever thought that you were getting by or getting over and then someone looked you in the eye and pulled your card? That's exactly how the Pharisees reacted. It was like, "Oh, he knows about that." And when they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones.

This is how we have to deal with Republicans - we can't be overly concerned about their feelings or about expanding their understanding when they aren't concerned about truth in the first place. We have to stand up, look them in the eye, and call them on their lies and misdirections. Then, and only then, can we have any kind of a constructive discussion. Unfortunately, I have found that when you pull their card like that they drop the discussion and walk away. You see, much like the Pharisees, Republicans generally aren't interested in discussion - they're interested in making their point and in controlling and/or manipulating your actions, prompting you to take an action that you might not have otherwise taken. I can't speak for anyone else but I will not be pimped or played by Republicans. Not gonna happen, wouldn't be prudent at this juncture - or any juncture.

But there's another aspect of this text that needs to be highlighted. Notice what Jesus said to the woman after all of the Pharisees left. After the woman replied that nobody was left to condemn her Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more." Notice what Jesus did not say. He did not say, "Go'n girl do your thing - just shake them haters off." Jesus did not say, "I don't know why they're tripping anyway - it's your thing, do what you wanna do. I can't tell you who to sock it to." NO. Jesus said for her to go and sin no more, declaring what she had done to be sinful. It's not that she was innocent - think White Bronco - but due to prosecutorial misconduct she was declared Not Guilty. Jesus was gracious towards her - not because she was innocent, but because He was not going to let the Word of God get pimped for political purposes.

Those of us who affirm the authority of Scripture have to be consistent in our application of the Word of God. There are no big sins and little sins - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It is true that homosexuality is a sin, but it is also true that covetousness is a sin - one of the Ten Commandments no less - yet that is the basis of our entire economy, keeping up with the Joneses. It is a sin and must be called sin by those who affirm the whole counsel of Scripture. Today's Pharisees are good for harping on certain aspects of Scripture without honoring the full counsel of Scripture. Jesus said to the Pharisees of His day, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others." Same thing applies today. The hypocrites have been Biblically accurate with their defenses against the promotion and validation of homosexuality, but they have neglected the weightier provisions of the Law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. They should continue doing the former without neglecting the latter - feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and imprisoned, and showing kindness to the immigrant. They need to get it right with regard for the whole counsel of Scripture, not just selected parts of Leviticus.

Now go and sin no more.

May The LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who implores you to go and sin no more,
My He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

Read or Post a Comment

So true...

Posted by Blogger Quintus Jett @ Sunday, August 21, 2005 10:19:00 AM #


Posted by Blogger AAFD @ Sunday, August 21, 2005 10:52:00 AM #
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