Laws, Logs and Love
Jesus, in the face of a centralized hostility towards outsiders, foreigners and the unclean, spoke a message of decentralization, inclusion and the reconciliation of all things. He resisted the official representatives of an exclusive elitism, an insular ideology, a segregational salvation, and a divisive dogma. The people with their leaders had dismally failed in their mission to be a light to the whole world. The early church believed Jesus to be that light that ended the tyranny of darkness over all people and ushered in the new age of the all-embracing God. Paul's journeys emphasize the universal scope of this love. It was precisely Jesus' attempts to demolish the traditional and established strongholds of his religion that got him killed. Same with Paul and the Roman world with their pantheon of gods and the Caesars. It seems to me that our preoccupation with private and personal sins misses the forest for the trees. We are so obsessed with the splinters that float in every one else's eyes that we are blinded by the log lodged in our own. And, again, I don't think that log is our personal or private sin, but precisely our compulsive need to make sure others measure up, settle up, line up, buck up, and straighten up. How are we any different than the CEO-s and their lawyers in the gospels? Do we, like they, really think we are doing the right thing by studiously discerning what is and isn't sin and then sadistically discriminating against those who fail to meet the standards we've so soberly determined? Isn't it possible that Jesus, when he ate and drank with prostitutes, drunkards, tax-collectors, soldiers, gluttons, criminals and foreigners, was living truthfully? Surely he wasn't just acting symbolically or analogously, a sort of in-living-color demonstration that this is how God would act if he were here. Neither do I think he lived with them as an outreach. I think he was with them because they were his friends who constituted his kingdom. He told the religious that prostitutes were going into the kingdom ahead of them... no mention of reformed prostitutes... just prostitutes! Is it possible that we still don't get it?