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Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

He said What? – Difficult teachings of Jesus

I honestly cannot remember who wrote this. It went into my files in 2000 so I am pretty sure I put there when I was a “fan” of Usenet. – Ninure da Hippie

He Said What?


Difficult Teachings of Jesus, Part 1

Jesus said some things that we forget, some things some of us don’t know, and some things that wesometimes wish we didn’t know. ; ) For the next couple of weeks, we are going to explore some of the least-well-known and least-popular sayings of Christ.

(Mat 6:14-15 NNAS) “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will
not forgive your transgressions.”

Sometimes I believe the national pastime of the U.S. is lawsuits. People sue over hot coffee spilled at McDonald’s. Even robbers sue the people they have robbed, for negligence! Televisionalk show advertisements promise titillating shows where people “get even” with those who scorned them. Forgiveness is not exactly in vogue. But Christ’s words are as valid for us in 1998 America as they were in the Middle East two centuries ago. We are not to hold grudges. We are not to seek revenge. We are not to nurture grievances. No, we are not to be doormats. But bitterness is not the answer. If someone hurts us, we need to try to work things out.

What is the alternative? To not be forgiven ourselves. The word is clear. If we don’t forgive others,
God won’t forgive us. When you think about it, that is kind-of startling, isn’t it. And Christ doesn’t say “forgive them IF they apologize.” He doesn’t say “forgive them” if they deserve it. (Who of usdo
deserve it?) He doesn’t say “forgive those who don’t do heinous things.” Nope, he says simply to
forgive. No conditions. Sometimes we think we don’t have to forgive someone unless they are sorry, but that is not the case. And remember, Christ died for us before we were sorry. He suffered on the cross for us before we repented. He forgave those who did not ask for it, he forgave those who didn’t think they had done anything to need forgiveness for. And so should we. It doesn’t mean condoning what people do wrong. It doesn’t mean not pretending not to be hurt, pretending that all is well when it’s not. That would be dishonest anyway. It simply means forgiving in our hearts, deciding to not hold something against someone. Not being forgiven by God — an awful thought, and a great incentive to work on forgiveness. Of course we should aim to do it for the purest motive, that of glorifying God and having a heart like His.

Forgiveness isn’t easy. We can’t do it on our own. We need God’s help. We can will it. We can do
our part, seek reconciliation and pray for the person(s). We can act forgivingly. If we do this, and pray for His help, God will honor that and help us. And the side-effect is peace. There is a little poem I am going to try to quote. If anyone has the exact wording please send it to me, thanks!

Someone told me to forgive,
To set the prisoner free.
I forgave those who had hurt me,
Only to find the freed prisoner……was me.

Gandhi and Christianity

Gandhi and Christianity

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most respected leaders of modern
history. A Hindu, Ghandi nevertheless admired Jesus and often quoted from the Sermon on the Mount. Once when the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Ghandi he asked him, “Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?”

Ghandi replied, “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Apparently Ghandi’s rejection of Christianity grew out of an incident that happened when he was a young man practising law in South Africa. He had become attracted to the Christian faith, had studied the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, and was seriously exploring becoming a Christian. And so he decided to attend a church service. As he came up the steps of the large church where he intended to go, a white South African elder of the church barred his way at the door. “Where do you think you’re going, kaffir?” the man asked Ghandi in a belligerent tone of voice.

Ghandi replied, “I’d like to attend worship here.”

The church elder snarled at him, “There’s no room for kaffirs in this church. Get out of here or I’ll have my assistants throw you down the steps.”

From that moment, Ghandi said, he decided to adopt what good he found in Christianity, but would never again consider becoming a Christian if it meant being part of the church.

If the only thing a non-Christian knows about being a Christian is how we treat him/her and the way we treat our neighbor are we making sure that they see Jesus?

Do not be afraid – Fr. Richard Rohr

Do Not Be Afraid – Fr. Richard Rohr

One could sum up the Bible as an interplay of fear and faith. In general, people are obsessed and overpowered by fears; we all fear whatever we cannot control. God is one of our primary fears because God is totally beyond us. The good news, the gospel, according to Luke, is that God has breached that fear and become one of us in Jesus. God says, in effect, “It’s okay. You don’t have to live in chattering fear of me.” God’s response to Mary’s quaver at the angel’s appearance is, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 1:30), and in fact, I am told it is the most common one-liner in the whole Bible, appearing maybe even 365 times!

In Luke’s infancy narrative, Mary is presented as prototypical and archetypal, because God comes into her life and announces the Divine Presence within her. Through the same Spirit, God comes into our lives and announces the Divine Presence within us. This annunciation event is a paradigm of every mystical experience. God offers the Godself to us even before we invite God to do so. There is no indication of previous holiness or heroics in Mary’s life. All we can do is be present and open. When Mary manifests this presence and openness, she becomes the Christ-bearer to the world. It is the same for us.

Adapted from The Good News According to Luke: Spiritual Reflections, p. 66

Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
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My YouTube Channel
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God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Essence Of Christianity

I have been/am blessed to Rowland personally, and he is one of those rare people who is always learning. growing, and asking the hard questions This is one of his sermons….

Essence Of Christianity

by Rowland Croucher

Human beings have three basic needs – for unconditional love, a sense of belonging, and a purpose for their lives.

When I was asked to speak about the essence of Christianity tonight, I thought of these these three basic human needs – they partly explain why I am a follower of Jesus.

1. ACCEPTANCE / UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

When a child is born – and, indeed, from conception – it receives messages, non-verbal and verbal, from the significant people in its life about its worth. A person’s mental and emotional health right through life is built on that foundation.

An article in the March 2002 issue of Scientific American, ‘The Neurobiology of Child Abuse’ (Dr Martin Teicher, Harvard Medical School) claims that child abuse actually affects the structure of the brain. Later in life this causes depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, post-traumatic stress disorders, etc. Dr. Teicher: ‘Early maltreatment damages the hippocampus by over-exposing it to stress hormones.’ Research into all this has produced the discipline of ‘biopsychiatry’. So all the little, caring inputs to a child’s life are incredibly important. When you cradle your child gently and sing ‘Rock-a-Bye Baby’ there are long-term effects of that gift of gentle love…

Is this negative process curable? To a considerable extent, yes (which is one reason why the motto of our little counseling practice is ‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood’!) And that’s one reason I believe in Jesus. He set us an example of relating to others in terms of their being made in the image of God. His habit, when meeting ‘damaged’ people, was to offer them unconditional love – love-before-worth, not love responding to worth.

The Pharisees and other religious leaders in Jesus’ day didn’t understand that. (They still don’t). Some of them taught, for example, that Gentiles were created to be fuel for the fires of hell. They defined people in terms of their sinfulness or their otherness. To the woman caught in the act of adultery Jesus first said ‘I do not condemn you’ before ‘Go and sin no more’. Even the early church fathers couldn’t understand that, which is why the story went missing from many manuscripts between 140 and 400 AD!

At a prayer breakfast in Melbourne a year or two ago I offered a little prayer which included the line: ‘Lord, thank you for loving us before we change, as we change, after we change, and whether we change or not.’ The emails I received were astonishing. Many experienced Christians had never thought of God like that!

2. BELONGING. A child – indeed anyone of any age – needs a sense of belonging to be a whole person. ‘This is my family, my people, my place.’ The institution Jesus founded to fulfil this need is the church. Which raises some interesting and disturbing questions. Why are there more people who claim to pray, and who believe in God, NOT in church these days than at any time in the church’s history?

That’s a complex question, and there are many articles on the John Mark Ministries website about it all. Briefly: our commercial culture has rejected the ‘one size fits all’ notion, and people’s expectations have become highly specialized in terms of ‘what they want’ from church. Also, I believe, there’s more ‘projection/transference’ going on as the tender fabric of our community life unravels. We want the church to be a substitute for the ‘family values’ we did not experience, and are usually disappointed.

‘The church is full of hypocrites’. Of course it is. That’s what the church is for. The people in it are not yet fully redeemed. They’re in process of becoming whole, and that includes those who get into leadership in the church.

But I believe that a follower of Jesus has to ask another question: What does he think of the church? He loves it. It’s his bride. He delights in the church. We humans have been infected with this ‘you get the love/esteem you deserve’ mentality. Jesus doesn’t think like that. He offers the church – even the church! – unconditional love. We live in families to experience love-in-the-midst-of- imperfection. Ditto the church. As we mature in the faith of Jesus we too will love the church, in spite of its imperfections.

If sociology has taught us anything, it has affirmed (in the words of Robert Merton) that ‘all institutions are inherently degenerative.’ The evil in institutions is greater than the sum of the evil of the individuals within them. Institutions organize themselves to organize the behaviour and beliefs of the humans. So the church-as-institution, for example, offers us creeds to regulate our beliefs and constitutions to regulate our behaviour. Part of it is explained in the notion of ‘the routinization of charisma’: where prophets bring us life, the commissars step in after a generation or two to regulate everything!

Jesus comes into this fallen world of institutions and invites us to be realistic and penitent. Realistic about the effects of our sinning when we relate to institutions, and penitent about our lovelessness in not handling the imperfections of people as individuals and in groups as well as Jesus did. But there’s hope! If we allow the spirit of Jesus to rule our hearts and motivations, we can change and grow and become whole.

3. COMMITMENT.

Humans need a cause to live – and die – for. The best cause I know is to be committed to doing in our world what Jesus did in his. A summary can be found in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 – pursuing justice, loving God, practising compassion, and encouraging faith. Justice is relating to others as being made in the image of God (rather than primarily as sinners, in the image of the devil). It is the urgent task of followers of Jesus to resist evil and the abuse of power (as when, for example, Jesus ‘cleansed the temple’ of those who ‘ripped off’ pilgrims).

Justice deals with the causes of pain; compassion with the symptoms of pain. Compassion asks ‘What kind of resource can I be for you in your need?’ Faith helps us believe that the world and our lives have meaning. And love for God is the spiritual dynamic/energy which fuels the process of becoming more like Jesus.

The ‘essence of Christianity’ hasn’t got much to do with creeds and constitutions and liturgies and religious formulas for this-and- that. It’s all about turning from whatever in our lives impedes our becoming whole (the traditional words are ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’) committing our lives to Jesus, following him in a sad and disintegrating world, belonging to a community-of-faith which can strengthen those commitments, and, perhaps above all, ‘accepting our acceptance’.

Shalom! Rowland Croucher http://www.pastornet.net.au/jmm

It’s the sick who need a doctor (via The Gadsden Times)

It’s the sick who need a doctor (via The Gadsden Times)

Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 at 7:12 p.m.
(Shared on this Hippie’s blog, 2013)

The Pharisees and teachers of the law prided themselves on being God’s chosen nation and on their strict adherence to the Law of Moses. Most of them were extremely critical of the sins of others, but saw themselves…

(more…)

Even Jesus didn’t know…

One Sunday morning, an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn-out old hat and an equally worn, dog-eared Bible.

The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and fine jewelry. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled by his appearance and did not attempt to hide it.

As the old cowboy was leaving the church, the preacher approached him and asked the cowboy to do him a favor. “Before you come back in here again, have a talk with God and ask him what he thinks would be appropriate attire for worship in church.” The old cowboy assured the preacher he would.

The next Sunday, he showed back up for the services wearing the same ragged jeans, shirt, boots, and hat. Once again he was completely shunned and ignored. The preacher approached the cowboy and said, “I thought I asked you to speak to God before you came back to our church.”

“I did,” replied the old cowboy.

“And what was his reply?” asked the preacher.

“Well, sir, God told me that He didn’t have a clue what I should wear, that He’d never been in this church.”

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Romans 13:9</i>

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary — the evil it does is permanent.
– Mahatma Gandhi

In many parts of the world the people are searching for a solution which would link the two basic values: peace and justice. The two are like bread and salt for mankind.
– Lech Walesa
from his Nobel Lecture

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“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”

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Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Meeting God – a story

This is one of my favorite stories…

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of Root Beer and he started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie.

He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. His smile was so pleasant that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer.

Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever.

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy? “He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? God’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked,” Dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” However, before his son responded, he added,” You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

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The cynic and the optimist both think they are observing reality.
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People often say with pride, “I’m not interested in politics.” They might as well say, “I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future, or any future.”
    — Martha Gellhorn, writer/journalist   (1908-1998)

Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

‘God does not share his love between all of his creatures; He gives *all* of his love to *each* of His creatures!’ (Hugh of St. Victor).

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FAIR USE NOTICE:

This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc.

This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law.

This material is distributed without profit

“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”


Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Arguments to Jesus’ Ethnicity

If you are easily offended, you just might want to stop reading NOW.

Arguments to Jesus’ Ethnicity

My Cajun friend had 3 good arguments that Jesus was a Cajun:
1. He liked to serve fish to his friends.
2. He could make his own wine.
3. He wasn’t afraid of water.

My Black friend had 3 good arguments that Jesus was Black:
1. He called everyone “brother.”
2. He liked Gospel.
3. He couldn’t get a fair trial.

My Italian friend gave his 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Italian:
1. He talked with his hands.
2. He had wine with every meal.
3. He used olive oil.

My California friend also had 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was a Californian:
1. He had a beard.
2. He walked around barefoot or in sandals all the time.
3. He started a new religion.

My Irish friend then gave his 3 equally good arguments thatJesus was Irish:
1. He never got married.
2. He was always telling stories.
3. He loved green pastures.

But, my women friends have the most compelling evidence that Jesus, though NOT a woman, certainly could relate to women:
1. He fed a crowd at a moment’s notice when there was nofood.
2. He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just didn’t get it.
3. And, even when he was dead, he had to get up because there was more work to do.

Every 3.6 seconds a real person dies from hunger somewhere in the world!!!
Feed a hungry person today:
http://www.hungersite.com

My YouTube Channel
http://www.youtube.com/Ninure

God is still speaking
http://www.stillspeaking.com

John Mark Ministries
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/

Pro-Gay Texts in the Bible – things you may not hear in YOUR church

Pro-Gay Texts in the Bible

 

©by Paul Halsall 

Introduction 

First. Let us remember the most important verse for gay people in the Bible. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Child, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life”.

And in this same Bible, a book produced, in all its phases, in patriarchal cultures in which marriage and property exchange were completely intertwined, God gave us also the most pro-gay book of the Bible – the Song of Songs.

Read it one day: it is about two lovers making love; the lovers are male and female, but they are not described as married, property and progeny and not an issue either. What is important in the Song is the beauty and value of human erotic attraction; this attraction is validated by God, and by Jesus also who continually plays down the importance of traditional ideas of the family.

God takes as one of the great prophets of the Old Testament a man who is not a man – a eunuch, the sexual minority par excellence, of the ancient world, the prophet Daniel, who, along with his companions, is take because of his physical beauty to be a court eunuch in the Palace of Nebuchadnezzar. This was known to all ancient commentators, for instance St. John Chrysostom, but has been ignored recently. GOD has a place for those who deviate sexually from social norms – gays, lesbians, and transgendered people. In Isaiah 56:4-5, the Lord addresses the eunuchs, and those who do not participate in the dominant culture of preserving name and family through children: “For thus says the Lord: to the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast to my covenant, I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument better than sons and daughters, I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”

Note that eunuchs could not keep the covenant in the same way as heterosexuals – they could not dedicate their first born sons for instance – and so, gay people CAN keep the covenant of the Law of Love – to love the Lord God and ones fellow human beings – but the way they do so might be slightly different from heterosexuals.

The Bible, you see, is full of many wonderful things. You can pull out a few verses here and there that seem, especially in modern translations, to be anti-gay, but this is always a misunderstanding. There are verses, indeed whole books of the Bible which challenge the viewpoint of the fundamentalists who seek to prove their view of the world by selective quotation [ask a fundamentalist where the Bible has any doctrine of the Trinity someday!].

As to St. Paul’s apparent attacks. It seems that Paul was disgusted with certain aspects of sex in Greco-Roman society. He was at times a bigot and a prude – he even admits as much when discussing whether women’s hair should be covered. He at no time discusses equal relationships between people of the same sex. It is possible that if he had known about them he would still have disliked them; after all Paul seems to condemn prostitutes, but given that we know most ancient prostitutes, whatever their social opprobrium, were forced, usually sold in fact, into prostitution, it does not speak well of Paul, IMO, that he condemned these poor abused people: Jesus never did! We hold Paul as authoritative for his expansionary view of an inclusionary church, for his profound understanding of sin and redemption, for his exaltation of Jesus as Saviour. We do not hold his every word and decision, nor those of any other apostle, as correct in every way.

And neither does anyone else! In Acts 9, I think, the Council of Jerusalem laid down certain laws for non-Jewish Christians [so we are not talking OT laws here]. Among the laws was an instruction not to eat the blood or the meat of strangled animals. No Christians observe these laws [what exactly do you think is in sausage? ;-)], and while Catholic’s may have an excuse – we believe the Church existed before the Bible and has much say in interpreting it [and WE are the Church !], fundamentalists have no such rationale. They simply ignore it.

In sum: the Bible is *OUR* book. It speaks to us, and it speaks to all people who are “deviant” in their society. It is misused and picked over by fundamentalists, and you should resist going along with their agenda, in my opinion. But above all it teaches the God loves you and wants you to love and be loved. I hope you have found, and will find, Regina, a lover, woman or man, who will bring that experience of God into your life.

 

Text by Text Summary

The most pro-homosexual text in scripture is:

John 3:16
“For God so loved the World that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”

In other words, all the pro-human texts in scripture are pro- homosexual too.

But that is not what anti-gay folk mean when they say there are no “progay” texts in Scripture. It all depends on how you read it, though.

Try these then:

 

Matthew 5:22 Jesus on Gays and Homophobia?

Matt 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Matt 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

( Mat 5:22 . . lego . . . pas ho . orgizo . . adelphos eike . eike . . . enochos . . krisis . hos an . epo . . adelphos rhaka . . . enochos . . sunedrion . hos an . epo . moros . . . enochos . geenna pur Mat 5:23 oun . . prosphero . doron . . thusiasterion . ekei mnaomai . . adelphos echo tis kata .)

Someone on the internet discussion group Gaynet recently pointed out that this passage may be the only reference made by Jesus to homosexuality. I think think argument can be made, but not conclusively.

I consulted the Greek Text [main word roots give in transliterated form, D. Greenberg, The Construction of Homosexuality, LSJ9 [Greek Dictionary], and various English translations.

The context is of course the compilation known as the Sermon on the Mount, a series of sayings of Jesus which are taken to call for a transcending of the Torah, to get to the “spirit” if you like [although I am sure a defence could be made of the Law, that is not my concern here].

The important words are Raca/Rhaka, and Fool/moros.

Rhaka is not a Greek word. This seems to be its only occurence in a Greek text, and LSJ merely states that it is Hebrew. Most translations either ignore the word, or note it as a general term of abuse. Greenberg relying on the work of Warren Johannssen [an acquaintance of mine – and very anti-religious in fact], points out that its roots in a variety of semetic languages mean “soft” [Hebrew “rakha”] and carries a connotation of effeminacy or weakness. The Akkadian word “raq” is used to denote a woman’s name or occupation, and its graphic representation in Akkadian derives from a Summerian symbol for woman. In other words it can be argued that “Raca” [applied here to a “brother”] is an accusation of “sissy”, or perhaps “catamite”.

This argument works better if the word “Moros” is considered. The word can mean “fool”, but it also has the amply used connotation of sexual aggressor, or even “homosexual aggressor”. LSJ9 confirms this, although Johannsen makes much more of it.

It could reasonably be argued then that Jesus words here condemn those who abuse other about their homosexuality.

Less convincing, but still plausible, is that since the abuse of “queers” is condemned, but homosexuality itself is not mentioned [unlike the women taken in adultery story] that Jesus is defending those who engage in homosexual practice. Considering Jesus break with other mores of contemporary Judaism, equally seen in his commendation of those who are “eunuchs for the kingdom of Heaven”, this is a plausible, but far from certain reading of this text.

Compared to justifying Cardinal Ratzinger and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from Matt 16:18 though, it is a cinch.

 

Matthew 8:5-13/Luke 7:1-10The Centurion and his “pais”

In Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 the same story is told about the centurion who approaches Jesus so that this “servant” might be cured.
Texts:

 

Mat 8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, Mat 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. Mat 8:7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. Mat 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. Mat 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. Mat 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. Mat 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
Luke 7:1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. Luke 7:2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. Luke 7:3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. Luke 7:4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: Luke 7:5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. Luke 7:6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Luke 7:7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. Luke 7:8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. Luke 7:9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. Luke 7:10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

 

There are several aspects to this story which might lend it to a gay reading. In the first place it seems somewhat odd that a centurion would be so caring about a slave, caring enough to risk ridicule by approaching a Jewish miracle worker for help. The underlying Greek text intensifies this suspicion of a possible homosexual relationship. Tom Horner, author of David and Jonathan: Homosexuality in Biblical Times, points out that in Matthew, the earlier account and directed to a Greek-speaking Jewish audience, the word for servent is “pais” – which means “boy”, but can also mean “servant”, and, given the rather greater than average concern for a servant demonstrated by the centurion, can also mean “lover”. The word “pederasty” for instance derives from “pais”. Luke, who was writing in a much more Greek milieu changes the word “pais” to the much more neutral “doulos” (“servent” or “slave”), presumably aware of its homosexual implications to any reader witha a Greek cultural background. Jesus, clearly, does not condemn the centurion in this story of faith.

 

Ruth 

The Book of Ruth sensitively portrays bonding and devotion between two women. Also don’t miss Book of Judith for a surprising overturning of male/female roles: Judith sneaks into the enemy camps, cuts off the head of Holofernes, the leader of the enemy army, returns and receives a hero’s welcome, and then lives out the remainder of her days with her maidservants, rejecting all male suitors!

I

Samuel 18, 19 & 20, II Samuel I:26  

These texts describe the relationship between David and Jonathon. You may not interpret them as homosexual, but I do, and I think I have valid reasons to do so.

The “friendship” between David and Jonathan. The relevant passages: 1 Samuel 18:1-4; 20:3-4, and especially, 20:41 and 2 Samuel 1:25-26, quoted here: “And as soon as the lad had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed three times; and *they* (David and Jonathan) KISSED ONE ANOTHER, and wept with another, until David recovered himself” (1 Sam. 20:41 New International Version). Note: It’s really amusing to see the Fundamentalists try to dismiss the obvious passion in this episode!

 

“(David speaks:) ‘Jonathan lies slain… I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; YOUR LOVE TO ME WAS WONDERFUL, PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMEN'” (Emphasis added by editor.) (2 Sam 1:25-26, New International Version)

 

 

The Song of Songs [All of it] : 

This is a series of herterosexual love poems. But it is unique in the scriptures [the product largely of a pastoral society in which property transfers were accomplished by marriage and inheritance, hence the laws and concern with marriage], in that it presents sexual love between two people who are not clearly married [marriage is not discussed] as a joyful thing in itself. This is pro- homosexual, if you like, because it challenges the procreation centered view of sex held by some.

 

Isaiah 56: 38 

This prophecy concerns the outcasts of Israel, and specifically the sexual minorities of the time, ie eunuchs. These were people who were not part of the dominant family/property complex, but people still who God loves and includes [since there was no category of homosexul – until very late in the 19th century it seems – these Biblical texts are ones I read as relevant and pro-gay: I am not asserting that they are discussing homosexuality, which would falsify my earlier statement that there was no such concept at the time].

 

Daniel 1 

The prophet Daniel was understood by Byzantine commentators to have been taken to serve as a eunuch, the major defined sexual minority of the ancient world, at the King of Babylon’s court. Note the emphasis on the physical beauty of the four young men. He is, nevertheless, along with David one of the heros of the Jewish Scriptures. Fr. Helminiak reports suggestions that “eunuch” was just a general way of refering to “homosexuals” in the period, although remains merely a suggestion. More interesting has been discussion of the “favour and tender love” Daniel enjoyed with the chief eunuch. Nothing definite can be asserted, but Daniel is one of the most intersting biblical figures for gay people.

You may note the development seen in Isaiah and Daniel when you compare them with Deut. 23:1 which excluded eunuchs from the community. I take the phrase of Jesus about “Eunuchs from birth” to be the closest thing in the Bible to the concept of homosexual as we now understand it [BTW it is a modern misperception to think that eunuchs could not and did not have sex]. .

So I would also include as a pro-homosexual text :

 

Acts 8:26-39 

[an apparent description of bi-location by the way]. In this passage an Ethiopian Eunuch [remember a group specifically excluded for sexual reasons from membership in the people of Israel by Deut 23:1] is baptised by Philip. This entire passage [which has Philip also preaching to Samaritans] is about the inclusion in the Church of the excluded. First a racially/ethnically excluded group, then a sexually excluded individual.

You may not agree with my reading of these passages, but it is untrue to say that in either the Jewish Bible or the New Testament there are no passages that can be read as supportive of homosexuals.

 

How to follow Jesus – a thought for today

How to Follow Jesus

Catherine Doherty

Arise–go! Sell all you possess. Give it directly, personally to the poor.

Take up My cross (their cross) and follow Me, going to the poor, being poor, being one with them, one with Me.

Little–be always little. Be simple, poor, childlike.

Preach the Gospel with your life–without compromise! Listen to the Spirit who will lead you.

Do little things exceedingly well for love of Me.

Love…love…love, never counting the cost.

Go into the marketplace and stay with Me. Pray, fast. Pray always, fast.

Be hidden. Be a light to your neighbor’s feet. Go without fear into the depths of human hearts. I shall be with you.

Pray always. I will be your rest.

Source: The Little Mandate

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