Friday, October 15, 2010

sojo's permissiveness

Toward the House of Levi

So I confessed instead that in our work with homeless families, Mile High Ministries has unmarried couples living in our facility. I knew this wouldn’t be particularly good news for many in this particular evangelical congregation, but I was just warming up. We also serve undocumented immigrants, knowing full well that they are in the country illegally. Not only that, but I’ve been politically active in supporting changes in America’s immigration laws, including speaking at a rally denouncing a new anti-immigrant law in Arizona. The room was now very quiet, so I encouraged everyone to exhale.

After my final story, about how much I enjoyed a birthday party for a loved one at a lesbian bar, I was confident that people would have some words for me after church was over. Sure enough, some thanked me, because they too have a relationship with an undocumented person or a loved one who is gay. Others were chagrined that I could be so wrong on the critical issues of our day, or even that I had such poor judgment as to speak of such things in an audience where children were present.

One man promised to try to get our transitional housing facility shut down, and another told me that I was preaching from the wrong version of the Bible. A careful reading of the “authorized” text, he said, would clarify that Jesus had gone to Levi’s home precisely in order to preach repentance. I wonder why Pharisees would find that so offensive?

The text this person was using was Mark 2:13-17, which tells of Jesus' meeting the tax collector Matthew and going to his house to meet others that the text calls 'publicans and sinners'. Here is Mark 2 in an interlinear version. I choose this version, because it shows that the man mention in the last paragraph was at least on the right path. I don't know if Jesus was there to preach, the passage says he only ate with them, but Jesus does say that he had come to call sinners to repentence.

That message is a far cry from what the Sojo writer seems to be saying. His and his ministry seem to have no problems with allowing unmarried couple to live together in their facility, and we may assume they continue their immoral sexual activities. They also have no compunction in helping those who are breaking the law, and that it is a political statement of theirs, and that in helping them they are actively helping those people continue their illegal activities. Instead of offering help while also telling them that they need to obey the lawas of the land, they are helping them continue their illegal activities and occupation.

One can know, for example, that Jesus kept a group from stoning an adulterous woman, but in doing so He did not condone adultery. He did not condemn, but nor did He condone, and while Sojo is big in not condemning, they are not so solid in not condoning.

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