Tuesday, January 29, 2013
When Pigs Fry.
Isaiah_66:17: “Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things—they will meet their end together,” declares the Lord" That seems pretty immutable, doesn't it? Probably they should have put a warning outside the shop that "eating pork barbeque may cause hypertension, diabetes, and eternal damnation". Nah. Jesus seems to have given us a loophole, here, when he tossed out a bevy of dietary prohibitions by proclaiming it wasn't what went into a person's mouth that made him unclean in Matthew, but the unkind or nasty stuff that came out of his mouth. I was breathing a sigh of relieve, hoping that Jesus had changed all this "eating pork is an abomination" talk, when I caught a litany of death penalty-punishable sins recounted in an ad in Walterboro's Press and Standard newspaper by self-described "evangelist Walt". Homosexuals topped the list, but adulterers, blasphemers, witches, and those folks who cursed their fathers or mothers are all supposed to die (interestingly, but scripturally accurately, murderers and those causing accidental death don't have to die if they can slip off to a city of refuge). He left out working on the Sabbath; and the verse I'd encountered in Isaiah didn't make the list, which I'm sure is a great relief to the pork purveyors at Duke's, but was still intent that a large group of miscreants ought to be killed. But, wait... Didn't Jesus toss out the death penalty for a lot of the rules that he didn't get rid of altogether, when told the folks about to stone an adultress to death that they'd better be without sin themselves before they pick up those big rocks? My point is that we can all be kind of particular about what stuff emphasize in the Bible, and what stuff we can just sort of passover (pun intended). For example, I don't see where Jesus specifically abolished the prohibition of wearing clothes made of more than one fabric contained in Leviticus 19:19; so, should I be feeling a little hot under the collar in my cotton/poly blend shirt, or did Jesus implicitly get rid of ALL the "uncleanness" laws? I like Garry Wills' take on the "Unclean" in What Jesus Meant. When you've got a choice between the dietary and uncleanness laws- including laws governing sex- and Jesus' law of love, go with the law of love: Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.