Monday, October 5, 2015

Divorcing Theological Convience - Past Sunday Reflection

This past Sunday we read from the gospel of Mark 10:2-12. In short the Pharisees (the pretenders of perfection) questioned Jesus about divorce. The Pharisees had a bad history with divorce. They loved it! They divorced all the time and they used scripture (Deut. 24) to back them up. They used scripture to meld and to endorse their bad behavior all the while the women they were marrying and divorcing were being kicked to the curb. Jesus' reply is stern and matter of fact. He reminded the Pharisees or the so called perfect pretenders that there was a HUGE gap in their theology. They forgot about Genesis and how God when he brings people together doesn't intend for this union to be just for a moment but much more a lifetime. We are all affected in this society by this thing called divorce and for those of us that have walked through such agonizing waters...we might be troubled by Jesus' words. We might feel the palpaple guilt. What we need to be reminded is that Jesus' response is based upon the people who asked it. We all know Jesus. We know if that if it was one of the women whom the pharisees kicked to the curb asking for Jesus' mercy... we know that the Jesus we know might have not been so stern and matter of fact. He instead would of had much compassion.

We are ALL guilty of interpreting scripture in a way that is convient to us. We point out other people's sin while we act like we are the perfect pretenders. We point to the one verse wonders to state our case while we put up blinders to the place that might actually challenge our case (just like the perfect pretenders). Kiah recently told me about somebody who was making an argument for a Citizen's right to protect themselves from the biblical perspective. They said well look at the Old Testament it is full of violence. This may be true but we have to ask what Jesus' words might mean in the midst of the Old Testament? Do we just discard Jesus words? Are we afraid of the tension? Do we throw them out and say they don't apply? If so we are just like the pharisees.

Some might say that I might be going easy on divorce or making Jesus sound easy about divorce. Here is the truth I don't think in most cases that Jesus wants people to get a divorce. He would actually want people to work their stuff out and let his grace change them. But that is the problem with Christian's we either want to be people of grace who encourage no morality or we want to proclaim morality with no grace and instead judgement. Jesus calls us to do both. He in fact lives both. He has an understanding what sin and the pain that it causes us and others. Paul reminds us... is it not God's kindness that leads us to repentance? Is it not his grace that changes us? If we have forgotten... we are no better than the Pharisees.