Gay Christians: Should Relationships Matter?


Certain kinds of people simply cannot be part of the people of God.
Making such a judgment is not based on bigotry. It is simply based on the story of God in which the people of God are defined in particular ways. These definitions demand that some are out while others are in.
Canaanite Transformation
Take Canaanites.
This is a blanket term for the people living in the land that God gave to the people of Israel through the wars of Joshua. They are excluded from participation in the people of God.
One way they are so excluded is in multiple warnings not to allow daughters and sons to intermarry with these indigenous peoples. Such liaisons might lead the Israelites astray to worship gods other than Yhwh.
But there is only one way to make sure that no such commingling occurs: kill them all. “You must devote them to complete destruction,” says Deuteronomy 7:2. Make no covenant. Show no mercy.
Michael_Angelo_Immenraet_-_Jesus_and_the_Woman_of_CanaanSo when a Canaanite woman from the hill country comes up to Jesus, a woman evocative of the remnant of the Canaanites that Israel couldn’t quite seem to root out–he rightly rejects her.
Jesus rejects her not because of bigotry, but because the Word of God has assigned her a place in the story. She cannot belong.
She wants an exorcism: “Lord! Son of David! My daughter is badly demon possessed!”
Jesus rebuffs her: “I was only sent to the sheep. To the House of Israel.”
She continues, “Lord, help me!”
Jesus rebuffs her again, “Look, dog. It is not right take bread from the children and throw it to such as you.”
Ouch. Jesus knows her place. And so, it would seem, does she.
“Yes Lord. And, even the dogs eat from the crumbs that fall from the tables of their masters.”
And then, finally, he relents. Finally he is willing to extend transgressive grace. Finally he is willing to allow that this woman who by all biblical rights should be excluded and even killed, might be embraced in the onslaught of the kingdom of which Jesus, Son of David, is king.
“Oh woman! Great is your faith! Let it be as you wish.” And her daughter was healed.
You see, the strangest things happens when we actually know really people. We start to discover that those whom we thought were beyond the pale of God’s grace and mercy might actually be entrusting themselves to it at that very moment. And that relationship has the power to change us.
Yes, I would say it had the power to change Jesus. As Jesus was in the midst of inaugurating the reign of God, and discovering in the process who would and who would not be a part, he found rather against his will that the grace of God could not be cordoned off from even the Canaanites.
Jesus was changed, not because he had been a bigot, but because a relationship showed him that the kingdom of God was not contained as he had previously imagined.
The story had changed.



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