Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Naomi is the Answer

June 12, 2017

Many people believe the Bible is a book of answers. If so, is there an answer to our troubled nation? There are many rules in the Jewish Bible regarding hospitality to the stranger, the foreigner, the other. There are many references to the sins of Sodom and all are about inhospitality to outsiders. In the Christian Bible (Matt. 25:43) Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in.” Therefore, you are doomed to the same eternity as Satan and his angels.
However, those scriptures have shallow roots and few seeds. Maybe a story would be more fruitful.
Because of famine, a Judean family moves to Moab as economic refugees. Does God have an attitude toward Moab? Yes. According to a Psalmist, “Moab will be my chamber pot,” God declared, because they were inhospitable to the Hebrews. (Ps. 60:8) In Moab, Naomi and her husband raise two sons who marry Moabite women. That is a violation of the Mosaic law that forbids Jews allowing sons or daughters to marry outsiders (Deut. 7:3)
In time Naomi’s husband and her two sons die. Naomi decides to return to Judea and tells her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their mothers. Women had few choices in those days.
One of the widows returns to her mother’s home hoping to be invited in. The other, Ruth, tells Naomi, “Your people will be my people.” Ruth was not an economic refugee. She was trying to keep the family together. Nevertheless, to be politically correct Naomi should have said, “No. My people are exceptional people and you cannot be one of us.” (Gen. 17:7)
Ruth also said, “Your God will be my God.” To be religiously correct, Naomi should have said, “No. No Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God.” (Neh. 13:1) Because Naomi was not politically or religiously correct, Naomi and Ruth return to Judea where Ruth meets Boaz, a relative of Naomi. Boaz was not politically or religiously correct either and the rest is a love story with a religious and cultural convert becoming an ancestor of King David, the glory of Israel, and Jesus the Savior of Christians.
Although the story is set in the time of the Judges, many Christian scholars tend to believe the Books of Ruth and Jonah were written in reaction to the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah that chronicle the return of the Judeans from Babylonian captivity. When they saw the desolation of Jerusalem, they vowed to make Judea great again.                                 First order of business: National Security. Rebuild the wall.
Second order of business: Tribal Cleansing. Ezra called for an assembly in Jerusalem.          Those who did not assemble would lose their property and be exiled. Those who did assemble were told they must separate from those unclean. (Ezra 10: 7-11) To be religiously correct, the returning captives rejected their wives, some of them likely pregnant, and their children. The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened to the wives and children but we know. We read it in the newspaper every day.
Perhaps Naomi’s way was the better way, the way our nation should go.

Religious Liberty for Whom?

December 9, 2015

The majority of American women and men have the religious freedom to plan their family as is best for the family without the dictate of a government or a religion. However a Christian employer can trump the religious freedom of Christian employees and discriminate against them by denying free benefits that a secular employer is required to give them. Trumping the religious freedom of others also increases employers’ profits.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have the religious liberty to choose their life-mate free of the dictate of a government or a religion but until very recently have been denied the benefits of such alliances that were indiscriminately given to others. However, some elected officials claim the right to discriminate based on their reading of their Holy Book. The scripture of choice is often Leviticus 20 that describes sexual sins and the punishment of them. Verse 13 requires that if a man lies with a man as with a woman both must be put to death. If a man has sex with his aunt or his sister-in-law the punishment is that they will never have children. How is that punishment possible without abortion or infanticide? (Lev. 20: 20, 21)

Another favorite scripture is the letter to the church of gentile converts in Rome. Romans 1: 18-27, seems to describe those who formerly worshiped fertility gods where sex with a temple priest or priestess was worship. Judah mistook his daughter-in-law for a temple prostitute (priestess) and impregnated her. (Genesis 38) Thus was Tamar in the geneaology of both King David and Jesus. Greek converts would also know of Greek love. (Matt. 1: 3)

The condemnation does not end at verse 27, and the letter did not have chapters or verses. Those came much later. In Paul’s letter equal sins are greed, envy, gossip, slander, strife, insolence, arrogance, boastfulness. Chapter 2:1, states to the reader: “You, therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

That’s not all. ““Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13: 1, 2) Perhaps those whose morality and politics are based on the Bible should read it.

Cyanide picking of the Bible to choose scriptures that condemn those you wish to injure is a sin. Christianity must not become the last refuge of the bigot.