Sunday, 31 March 2013

He is Risen, Now It's Our Turn

It's Easter, a time when we Christians celebrate the risen Christ and His defeat of death. We say "He is risen indeed".

There are any number of Resurrection stories in religions throughout history. The Egyptians had Osirus, God of the Underworld, who arose from the dead to beget his son the god Horus. The Jews, our siblings rivalrous in faith, have Lazurus. There are others too. The theme of renewed life and escape from death is not unique to Christians.

I don't dispose of my faith for this, nor do I dispose of it at all. This is but one of the many anomalies that one must conquer if one is to have faith as a Christian. It is conquerable. Some, however, are not. Of late I have been watching the equal rights debate around gay marriage. Personally I don't care who marries who, as long as they are happy. I have learned over the years that my rights extend to my life, not to the control or judgment of other lives.

In many ways these days I am ashamed of my fellow Christians and their acts of great unkindness, their unwillingness to show charity and their ability to use selected verses or portions of the Bible as a blunt instrument in a vain attempt to control the world around them. Jesus might have a few choice words for them, and I suspect they would not be words of praise.

The Southern Baptist Convention is a leader in the fight to "preserve" traditional marriage. This is the same conference that ruled in 1998 and 2000 that women were to be subjugate to men and thus could not be pastors or deacons in their churches. It would seem that repressing women is right up there with repressing homosexuals.

The most fascinating part of all of this is that the Southern Baptist Convention has a large African-American contingent. I wonder how they would feel about the verses in Leviticus and Deuteronomy which not only uphold slavery but admonish slave owners in the proper treatment of slaves. Slavery is all over the early Bible; it was a normal part of life for the Jews. They were both slaves and owners of slaves.

Using a part of the Old Testament to justify maltreatment of others is a time-worn Christian practice. It's time we stopped. I have come to believe in a forgiving God, a Christ who leads from the cross, a Jesus who speaks out against injustice in all forms.

He is Risen. Let us now rise up against all the injustice around us, not just the injustice that serves our small minds and prejudices.

1 comment:

  1. This is a thoughtful essay RIchard. I agree with you. God loves us all and Jesus died for that. He is risen again to call us to the principals of love and acceptance.