Monday, November 02, 2009

Rabbi, who sinned...

...this man or his parents, that he was born blind? (John 9:1-2)

I grew up with this personal theology. If I tripped and fell in the playground, it must've been because of the white lie I told my parents to get out of cleaning my room. If my knee was skinned really bad, then it must have been a sin much worse. This theology led to a religious paranoia and paints God as the cosmic puppet-master instead of the loving Father that he is.

But this theology is also applied to prop up one's personal politics and biases. I sat in on a class on Abraham's Covenant with God yesterday and I was reminded that there is no covenant between God and my country. Despite what some may preach, the United States is owed no special favor by God. Likewise, God owes us no special punishment for violating the terms of his covenant. Tell that to the talking heads after Hurricane Katrina or 9/11. Some were quick to assign motive to these tragedies while justifying their personal theology.

It's a shame these recognized representatives of American christianity (TM) are not Ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor 5:20, Eph 6:20) instead because Jesus addressed this very issue in Luke, chapter 13: "Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, 'Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them- do you think they were more guilty than all the to others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.'" (Luke 13:1-5)

These two tragedies, the Galileans whom Pilate killed and those who died in Siloam could be justified by the religious at the time because of their political ties. The Galileans were likely leading in a revolt against Roman authorities while the tower in Siloam was part of the aqueduct Pilate was constructing so those who died were in the employ of these same authorities. Jesus' reply was much like the traps the Pharisees and teachers of the law would try and catch Jesus in by trying to force him to take a side. But much like his replies to these traps, his reply here emphasised that which side doesn't matter. We should be concerned about our the condition of our own souls.

That's not to say we shouldn't preach against sin (despite the common strawman: judge not, lest ye be judged). But we should be preaching the Gospel of salvation, not the religion of condemnation. And we should never assign motive to what God chooses to do or not to do. I could close by saying something about why we shouldn't assume. But you know how the rest of that goes.

(more on Abraham's Covenant in tomorrow's blog carnival)

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