Thursday, February 14, 2008


I find myself refraining from writing about religious or spiritual matters lately. Cowardice, apparently, would be my culprit. Sometimes, I worry about what my uber-liberal non-Christian friends will think of my odd spiritual journey. Other times, I worry about what my uber-liberal (or not so liberal) Christian/Lutheran/Baptist/UCC friends will think of my odd spiritual journey.

It occurred to me this morning that I really have no control over what anyone thinks of me--oo, original thought--and so it would be better to simply be myself, in all my odd glory and splendor, and let the chips fall where they may.

Not that I have anything particularly earth-shattering about which to write in the religious/spiritual department today. But I was thinking about some conversations in my Bible study this morning. We were looking at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), particularly "the sin of Sodom" as it is explained by other passages of scripture.

Now, admit it. Didn't you think the sin of Sodom was homosexuality? Certain the Christian Right would tell you so. As would probably the Christian Middle! Well, if you look at the context and at the other Biblical passages that speak of the sin in question (Isaiah 1:10-18; Jeremiah 23:14, Ezekiel 16:49
), it sure seems that the salient sins are gang rape and being inhospitable to strangers (by wanting to gang rape them), as well as their general sins of hypocrisy and adultery and general not straightening up and flying right.

Me? I was hoping the sin of Sodom was offering girls up in place of guys for gang rape (Genesis 19:8). Girls, as we all know, ranked pretty low in the social hierarchy of those times. Better, apparently, to offer up your virgin daughters for gang rape than risk not protecting male traveling strangers. This sort of perverse world view often makes for pretty horrific and angering reading sometimes, as one peruses the Old Testament. Downright depressing, it was this morning.

And you can't make most of that more palatable by looking at the context, as you can with the whole sin of Sodom. Can you? Is it ok because we know that those were different times when women were considered chattel? And if it was a different time, am I supposed to be less angry because it was acceptable under their cultural mores?
Is it a waste of anger when it changes nothing, when the sin is past? Or is the sin not exactly past, given the continued misuse of women all over the world?

Context provides background and explanation. It doesn't provide expiation, though, nor is it always exculpatory. Sometimes, sin is just plain wrong, no matter what the context.

I'm wandering, I think. My mind is on a potentially long meeting tonight. Perhaps context will prove useful there, and no sins will be committed. :-)



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