Too hot to handle

I am amazed. No, really.

My comment on Danny Nalliah’s blog (see previous post) has been rejected. Apparently, it’s ok to have his comments described as: “disgusting” and as “blatant opportunism”. But describing his exegesis as “sloppy” is apparently a comment too hot to handle.

I don’t think I’ve said anything too radical (although perhaps I had a bit of a “tone” in my comments... I was a little ticked off when writing).

I was trying to make a simple point, really. The first testament describes a covenant between Yahweh and a people (the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), promising them the land of Israel. If the Jewish people obeyed the laws given to Moses, they would have peace and prosperity in this land. God promised his presence in the temple in Jerusalem, and if his people had been unfaithful, God would always hear them as they repented and prayed in this temple.

The New Testament describes a new covenant, where all who follow the way of Jesus become God’s people, regardless of their race. This is not an earthly kingdom relating to a particular land, but to a kingdom “not of this world”. Jesus’ followers were warned of the dangers of worldly riches, but encouraged to “store up treasure in heaven”. This was not a covenant about following the law, but about grace and freedom and forgiveness. This was not a covenant with one race of people, but a covenant open to people of “every tribe and tongue”. This was not a covenant centred on a temple, but on a people filled with the Spirit of God.

This is nothing too controversial. In fact, every bible I’ve ever seen names an “Old Testament” and a “New Testament”. There are some Christian movements that seem to think the Old Testament covenant directly applies to Australia. (Or to America. More often, America, come to think of it.) I’ve seen a bit of “claiming the promises” of the Old Testament, which often is an exercise in biblical misinterpretation. (“I claim prosperity” “I claim rain” “I claim health” etc.) I’m not convinced promises in the covenant related to Yahweh and the Jews and the land of Israel in the Old Testament era can be “claimed” by Christians.

I’m not saying we should not pray for our country... the scriptures encourage us to pray about everything! I’m only saying we should exercise a little caution before we pluck a verse out of an Old Testament covenant and “claim” it.

Oh, and another thing (while I’m on a roll). The people of Israel in the Old Testament had righteous laws, but they frequently angered Yahweh, because they did not obey them! I’m not convinced God is as angered by our laws, as much as by our actions. (In a democracy, we actually should expect our laws to reflect our values... values which do of course fall short of God’s standards)

There seems to me to be very little difference between Christian fundamentalists who focus their attention on the laws of a country, and Muslim fundamentalists who campaign for “shariah” law for their countries. In both these cases, the focus is on imposing morality by force of law, rather than encouraging moral behaviour that emerges from the heart. When laws do not reflect the values of a people, these are usually secretly flouted anyway. Think of the illegal alcohol industry in the prohibition era in America, or the terrible backyard abortions prior to law reform allowing abortion on medical or mental health grounds, or the unreported violence against women and high levels of STD’s when all prostitution was illegal and unregulated. Now I do not “approve” of alcoholism, abortion, or prostitution... I think they are all terrible. But I can see a place for laws that focus on “harm minimization”, recognising we live in a fallen world (eg’s not serving alcohol to minors, prohibiting drink driving, allowing abortion in some circumstances, regular STD checks in brothels). Far better to pray for revival, for a world where no one feel the need to drink themselves into a stupor, for a world where no mother feels so desperate they would consider terminating a pregnancy, where sex is esteemed as a sacred part of a covenantal relationship and not viewed a commodity, where God was revered and godly values were embraced... than to pray for laws to be imposed on an unwilling populace.

Well, that’s probably a long enough rant. Perhaps someone out there can help me understand why describing someone’s comments as “disgusting” is a less offensive than describing the difference between the Old and the New covenants. I don’t understand this, frankly... but there’s many things I just don’t understand.

Comments

Crazy Seraph said…
Awesome Janet!

I especially like this:'Far better to pray for revival, for a world where no one feel the need to drink themselves into a stupor, for a world where no mother feels so desperate they would consider terminating a pregnancy, where sex is esteemed as a sacred part of a covenantal relationship and not viewed a commodity, where God was revered and godly values were embraced... than to pray for laws to be imposed on an unwilling populace'
May I quote you again?

In answer to your question. I think people can't handle being confronted with what they secretly know is the truth. Abuse they can cope with! The truth is way scarier than a few unpleasant words. We might have to respond to the truth (and admit that we are wrong).

Also, by being selective about which comments they publish, they can make themselves look better. (ie: 'oh, poor us, look how we get treated for telling our version of the truth. We must be really upsetting Satan for this to happen.')It never ceases to amaze me the intellectual contortions people will make to twist scripture and the words of others to suit themselves.
Janet Woodlock said…
Thanks Crazy... yes of course you can quote me any time, but only if you correct all my grammatical errors! (I woke up and wrote in the wee hours, feeling hot and a bit sick, so my grammar / use of tense left a bit to be desired)

How about...

'Far better to pray for revival, for a world where no one feels the need to drink themselves into a stupor, for a world where no mother feels so desperate they would consider terminating a pregnancy, where sex is esteemed as a sacred part of a covenantal relationship and not viewed a commodity, where God is revered and godly values are embraced... than to pray for laws to be imposed on an unwilling populace"

Oh, and anything else you notice. Editing welcome.

I'd have a hunch they are screening out a fair bit of criticism, given the high proportion of affirming comments about something so controversial. I can understand screening out abuse... but biblical critique?

*Sigh* Maybe it is about PR... they don't want their supporters to see a different point of view.

I'd hate to think it's about deliberately rejecting truth... I don't like thinking THAT badly about other Christians. But you might be right...
Crazy Seraph said…
Thanks Janet. I really enjoy reading your words. I wont wear my editor's cap unless you would really like me to.

And perhaps I am too harsh. I have met many christians in my career as a student that have left me in open mouthed admiration for their level of graciousness, tolerance and kindness (above and beyond the call of duty). Hmmmm...perhaps I could dedicate a blog or two to them. Thanks for the idea.:-)

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