Posts Tagged With: homosexuality

Sarai’s Sacrifice

As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are.  When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’  Then they will kill me but let you live.  Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

Genesis 12:11-13

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Abram (descendent of Noah’s son, Shem) had been directed by God to leave his country and go to a land of God’s choosing.  Abram was told that he and his line would be made into a “great nation”.  Abram followed the command.  He took his wife (Sarai), his nephew (Lot), and all of their possessions and set out.  They first arrived in Canaan.  Abram’s offspring were promised the land, and Abram built an altar in thanks.

A famine came upon that land, which prompted Abram to move on toward Egypt where his family would have a better chance of survival.  Abram asks something remarkable of Sarai before entering Egypt.  He asks that she pretend to be his sister.  He knows how beautiful she is, and that the Pharoah may well desire her because of it.  He also claims that if it is known that they are married, he might well be killed so that the Pharoah could have her.  He goes on to state that if they pretend to be siblings…not only will the Pharoah not kill him; but he will be treated well, for her sake.

The Bible tells us that Abram’s assessment of the situation, indeed, came to pass.  Pharoah was taken by Sarai’s beauty enough to invite her into his palace.  Abram was treated well, very well, for her sake.  He was given all manner of animals and servants, for her sake.  However, Pharoah found out the truth.  He was, naturally, quite angry.  He had, after all, taken another man’s wife for his own…and paid that man, handsomely, for the privilege.  Pharoah ordered Abram to take Sarai and leave.

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Sarai’s sacrifice.  Can you imagine what that conversation must have been like?  In that time, women were seen as little more than possessions.  But one would assume that she would, at least, be valuable to her family.  But maybe not, huh?  He, Abram, shamelessly, used her.  He asked her to make a huge sacrifice.  And she did it.  She pretended that she was not married.  She was taken into another man’s house and made his wife.  I won’t even go into what that must have been like.  I can not fathom what it felt like to be taken as the wife of another, while your true husband profits from your pain and misery.

Which leads me to what I would like to say…a woman has always been expected to sacrifice.  She has been expected to sacrifice for her spouse throughout the years.  She was taught that behind every great man is a great woman.  She aspired to be one of those women.  She has been expected to sacrifice for her children, to always put their needs ahead of her own.  Even in recent years, life before children is expected to become a memory.  She is expected to shoulder the weight and help carry the burdens of her friends and family.  To volunteer in the community and teach Sunday school.

And, for the most part, she has.  She has, somehow, found a way to do all of that.  And more.

She is married.  She is single.  She is gay or she is straight.  She cooks the bacon or she brings it home.  Sometimes, she does both.

She is a chef.  She is a launderer.  She is a teacher.  She is a janitor.  She is a mediator.  She is a counselor.  She is a nurse.  She is a seamstress.

She is a support system for her lover.  She is a shield for her kids.  She is a shoulder for her friends and family.

She embraces and she scolds.  She laughs and she cries.

She is happy.  She is sad.  She is disappointed.  She is exhausted.  She is angry.  She is undervalued.

She is PROUD!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.  Be they mothers of biological children or foster mothers or teachers or advisors.  Mothering comes in all forms.  I recognize how much the world asks you to sacrifice.  You are underpaid, if paid at all.  I know that the job seems unappreciated and, often, thankless.  It is not.

Best wishes to you all, today and everyday.

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Categories: analysis, faith and religion, old testament, personal, the Bible, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Would Jesus Do?

My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.

Luke 8: 21

As the name of this blog is Faith and Politics…..I feel the need to speak a little on how religion and politics relate to one another.

(…..Drum Roll…..)

THEY DON’T!

Good night, folks.  Thanks for coming out.

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Seriously.  Here’s the thing.  Religion and politics are not the best of friends.  They are not even associates.  Heck, they can barely stand the sight of each other.  And while that may sound harsh; it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth….so help me, God.

You see, our government is founded on the principle that no single religion shall be the foundation of public policy.  I could go on and on.  I could cite numerous writings by Adams and Jefferson.  I could cite the entire Treaty of Tripoli.  But, that is not necessary.  Well, ..er..it shouldn’t be necessary.  It seems it may be.  Too many people seem to labor under the illusion that we are a “Christian nation”.  Of course, we are not.  We are a nation consisting of mostly Christians.  This is not just semantics.  It actually means two different things.  One implies that our government was based upon a Christian belief system and reflects biblical principles.  However, the truth is that our government was designed to work without Christianity, leaving that decision up to each individual citizen.

On the flip side of that coin:  Christianity was not designed with government in mind.  In truth, Christianity is the name we call ourselves because we believe in Christ and his teachings.  Never once did Jesus say, “You will start a new religion and name it after me.”  What he did say is very clear.  Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s – Matthew 22: 21.  This is not open to interpretation.  He said, very clearly, that God does not belong in the government and the government does not belong in the church.

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Now that we have cleared that up, we can stop introducing the two at parties.  We can forget all about future blind dates.  We can realize that they are the two kids who need to be separated for everyone’s peace of mind.  Whew!  I am so glad that is settled.

Wait.  It is not settled.  The government feels bombarded by religious sentiment.  There are any number of laws on the books (both federal and state) that are written simply with the religious in mind.  With an ever-increasing number of agnostics, atheists, Muslims, and other faiths; government is attempting to live up to the constitution’s guarantee of freedom from religion.  Religious organizations are refusing to comply with federal laws.  The government is, basically, refusing to become a church.

The church feels persecuted and excluded.  Christians feel like they are being targeted for harassment and abuse.  They are furious that their leaders won’t legislate based upon religious doctrine.  They cite the Bible for all manner of objection to abortion, gay marriage, and other issues.  They fear Muslim infiltration and Sharia Law.  Christians, basically, wants the government to become a church.

Now, before anyone yells that I am just taking up for a corrupt government, let me say this.  I agree that there is corruption in the system.  I agree that our politicians behave as though they don’t have to answer to us, their constituents.  I even agree that there are some who would love nothing more than to do away with religion completely.  That being said, Christians need to accept some responsibility.  It has been my experience that the majority of non-believers just want to be left alone.  They do not wish to have their lives dictated to them, by a God they do not believe in.  They do not wish to have politicians making decisions about what they do with their bodies.  (Because of a God they don’t believe in)  They don’t want to be told who to love or marry by some senator. (Because of a God they don’t believe in)

And, since our country is neither a Christian nation nor a church…they have that right.

Christians need to worry only about being Christians.  I will give you a moment to read that opening scripture again.  <<…Humming…>>  Okay, ready?

Christians were given one important commandment by Christ.  He even says it is the greatest commandment…love each other.  That’s it.  It sounds ridiculously simple, right?  Well, it is not.  Jesus is very explicit about how we are to behave as his followers.  We are to love one another.  We are not to seek revenge or vengeance.  We are to respect the fact that we are responsible for ourselves, and only ourselves.  We are to be good to people:  feed them, clothe them, house them.  We are to forgive.  It should be our goal to be like Christ, no matter what the world throws at us.  Our faith is to be recognized by sight, not by speech.  They will know we are Christians by our love.

Where is our love?  Love is not spewing hate and vitriol.  It is showing compassion and kindness.  Love is not stereotyping and judging.  It is offering comfort and support.  Love is not casting the first stone, even as we live in glass houses with a hundred cracks.  It is forgiveness and a helping hand.

These traits are hard to develop.  They are difficult to express.  They are practically impossible to demonstrate with perfect consistency.  But we should try.  Why?

Because…What would Jesus do?  That is what Jesus would do.

Categories: analysis, faith and religion, personal, separation of church and state, the Bible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wait, go back…Nephilim?

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them.  They were the heroes of old, men of renown.     Genesis 6:4

nephilim2

I always found this passage a bit puzzling.  It’s location and total lack of context brings many questions to mind.  The Nephilim were the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of men.  (They would later be known as the giants who inhabited Canaan.)  Does the phrase “sons of God” refer to the angels?  Were the Nephilim inherently evil, thus becoming part of the reason for God’s drastic decision to flood the world?

Ancient Jews understood “sons of God” to mean angelic beings.  This view would be corroborated in 1 Peter 3:20 and 2 Peter 2:4-5.  If the Jewish interpretation is to be trusted –  that they are angelic beings –  we run into another dilemma.  Looking forward in the text…We learn that Jesus, in Matthew 22:30, said that angels did not marry.  That would mean that we could infer that producing children wasn’t on the to-do list.  Procreation, outside of a marital union, was extremely taboo.

We do, however, learn that angels did not always do as they were told.  And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—Jude 6.  It is important to note, though, that the author of Jude used pseudepigraphical literature as reference material.  Pseudepigrapha are books claiming (falsely) to be written by some ancient hero of the faith, such as Moses or Abraham.  Yet another conundrum is the fact that these demigods, as lawless and wicked as their behavior was, were known as heroes.  But to whom?  I can only assume they would be considered heroic to those who perished in the flood.

I, personally, believe this mention of the Nephilim was to teach that even heavenly beings sin.  Not only that, they will face punishment.  Considering the fact that we are still in the section of the Bible known as The Law, this is not terribly surprising.  This is the period, in the faith, where works is focused on more than faith.  It is also my opinion that those telling this story would need a truly wicked sin to recount, in order to explain and/or justify the near total extinction of the human race.  What is more wicked than wayward angels cavorting with humans and creating progeny that brings nothing but sin and evil?

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I would also like to add that genealogy, found in Genesis, should probably be taken with a grain of salt.  The book has Shem outliving Abraham!  And, let us not forget that female offspring barely receive an honorable mention.  Again, I will reiterate that these accounts had been handed down generation after generation.  Another thing worthy of remembering is that the lineage we are given only tells us how various groups/nations relate to Israel.

No novice to gossip, I am equally pretty sure a little bit of that 2nd grade gossip thing was happening, too.  You know, little Sarah says “I gotta pee.”   By the time we get to the sixth kid, it’s “Sarah peed on herself and wants you to tell the teacher!”  And, well, let’s be perfectly honest.  How many of us could regurgitate our entire history orally, and get it all right??  Not too many, I would assume.  I am certainly no threat to ancestry.com.

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Lastly, I would like to point out another detail that stuck out to me.  The ages of the characters prior to death will begin to drop, dramatically, after the death of Shem.  Shem, the middle son of Noah, lived to be 500 years old.  I am convinced that ages were fudged, to begin with.  However, I feel that this marked decrease in lifespans is due to change in climate and landscape post flooding.  Naturally, after a major catastrophic event, you might see lack of food and other environmental changes that could lead to human beings living shorter lives.

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Next up:  Abram (Abraham), the first faithful

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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