Thursday, March 5, 2009

Greetings from Leo

"When the cat's away, the mice will play" It is privilege to be the latest guest blogger while D.P. is at a college residential. It is also a rebuke to me as I have done nothing on my own blog for a very long time.

I sense that the previous post is running it's course, but to allow a wider audience to join in who may have been intimidated by the length and complexity of the last string (55 and still counting) I thought I would develop one of the strands.

How do we deal with the difficult texts of our traditions?

In the last post Amillennialist pointed to some of the texts in the Quran which seem to show Islam in a bad light:

"As for his raping little Aisha, that fact is amply attested to by numerous ahadith. Here's one:

My mother came to me while I was being swung on a swing between two branches and got me down. My nurse took over and wiped my face with some water and started leading me. When I was at the door she stopped so I could catch my breath. I was brought in while Muhammad was sitting on a bed in our house. My mother made me sit on his lap. The other men and women got up and left. The Prophet consummated his marriage with me in my house when I was nine years old” (Tabari 9:131).

O.K: and courtesy of Russ, here are some from the Old Testament. While he writes from the perspective of a gay man the points are equally valid to our current conversation.

"Since the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled last week that same-sex couples should be allowed to wed, many commentators have reiterated their belief that gay and lesbian couples should be excluded from marriage for religious reasons. But why stop there? If marriages recognized by the Commonwealth must be based on biblical principles, then it’s clear more changes to the law are needed. Below are seven suggested amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution that would bring Bay State family law in line with the Bible.

• Because Jacob and David each had more than one wife, marriage in Massachusetts shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women of his choosing (II Sam. 3:2-5; Gen.29:17-28).

• A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is found not to be a virgin, "they shall take her to the door of her father’s house and her fellow citizens shall stone her to death" (Deut. 22:13-21). (Here, Governor Romney’s resurrection of the death penalty will come in handy.)

• As Rehoboam, David, and Solomon all possessed concubines, a married man in Massachusetts shall also have the right to keep concubines in addition to his wife or wives (I Kings 11:3; II Sam. 5:13; II Chron. 11:21).

• When Moses said, "Every one of you must put to death those of his people who have committed themselves to the Baal of Peor," he was forbidding the marriage of a believer to a nonbeliever (Gen. 24:3; Neh. 10:30).

• Christ said, "What God has united, man must not divide." Therefore, neither the Constitution nor any state law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall permit divorce (Deut. 22:19; Mark 10:9-12).

• If a married man dies childless, the widow must not marry a stranger outside of the family. Instead, the dead man’s brother must marry the widow. If the brother refuses to marry the widow or refuses to give her children, the law shall fine him one sandal, and he will be forced to go about wearing one sandal for the rest of his days, and he shall be called the Unshod One of Massachusetts (Deut. 25:5-10; Gen. 38:6-10).

• If there are no acceptable men to be found in the town, a woman shall ply her father with wine and have sex with him in order to produce progeny to carry on the family name (Gen. 19:31-36)."

There isn't the time here to go into the various violence texts in the Quran and the Old Testament suffice to say that they exist in both. So, what do we do about the difficult texts which we would much rather were not held up as examples of how we live our lives today?