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Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Getting Sodom Straight for The Church of God Ministry
Getting Sodom Straight for The Church of
It's a good time to be reminded that the story of Sodom, misused and misunderstood, is NOT a Biblical a whole town of Middle Eastern men and boys being gay and wanting to literally rape , just for the heck of it, Angels unawares.
The story that unfolds in Genesis 19 is a Middle Eastern hospitality story and not a story based on homosexuality. No town is all gay men and boys.
Sodom's problems as remembered by Ezekiel were that the people were prideful, had too much food, too much time, neglected the poor, were haughty and committed abominations (Ez. 16:49-50). Not ANY mention of mass homosexuality. Abominations can be just about anything not in tune with the law and in this case was a reference to idol worship. Another common Israelite trait all through their history. Why would papa Lot offer his virgin daughter's to a crowd of homosexuals, in place of his guests? What interest would homosexuals have in virgin women? ZERO, unless the girls were being offered as an appeasing virgin sacrifice ("for they have not known a man.") This would qualify as an abomination to be sure, and also idolatry. Human sacrifice was still an option it appears with Abram and Lot.
Another factor is that in that culture the protection of guests under one's roof to a male host was a matter of honor. This is why Lot scrambled to come up with a solution to the problem. In Lot's mind, it was about Lot's reputation and honor. Not an uncommon modern theme in Middle Eastern men to this day. Strangers were not taken kindly to in small clannish towns. They could be spies and were always suspect. Sooooo....
The way to put a stranger in his place was to humiliate them sexually, and send the warning that they had best have no ill intentions in the town. In that culture, the most horrific way to humiliate a stranger and have power over him was to mistreat him as one might mistreat a woman with symbolic or literal rape. The rape would not be a homosexual act, it would be a warning and a putting of strange man in his place as a warning. "In our town, you are just a woman to be used as needed and disposed of if necessary" It may only have been a threat to humiliate and control as the original request was for them to come out "that we might know them".
There are two schools of thought on "know them". One is sexual and one is to simply interrogate and get to know. Few ever question Lot's evil counteroffer. But it does show that Lot was a product of his culture and personal ego protection. Eastern hospitality issues were at stake here and not homosexuality.
Lot being called a "Hero of Faith" and "Just Lot" in Hebrews 11 certainly did not have this disgusting behavior of in mind. Actually I'm still not sure why lot made the Hebrews 11 list.
EVERY sermon I ever heard on the topic stops short of explaining Lot's egregious behavior as a father. I doubt this ever really literally happened, but if it did, Lot would be no hero of mine. I seriously doubt he had much of a relationship with the girls after this stunt, not to mention Mrs. Lot! Can you imagine dinner that night? "Ummmm, so Lot...about your offer of our daughters to the townsfolk..."
I imagine a similar conversation between Sarah and Abraham when she found out dad's little camping trip to the mountains
Concerning the superiority of men over women....
I have always found it amusing to inform fundamentalist males who literally believe that "women come from men and not men from women" as Paul ignorantly noted, that the human fetus starts out female. While the genetics to be male or female is there, the initial stages of conception put the fetus clearly in the female camp. It is only after the fetus is bathed in the chemistry of testosterone after the fourth to sixth week does it literally start it trip toward maleness. Without that chemical miracle and it can be interrupted by many factors, including stress in the mother at the time, and the male born can be highly feminized in both thinking and body. We all know men who act very feminine who in fact are not homosexual but are oft accused of it. This would reflect such a deficiency in the womb. It's a big topic medically, environmentally and socially and I do not mean to address them in any detail. The information is out there.
Perhaps men should ask themselves just why they seem to have nipples? It's because the template is female.
One gay friend and their partner of 20 years recently met a pregnant teen who was going to abort her child and long story short, they paid for the birth, attended it and adopted the little girl as their own. At the infant baptism ceremony she was taken to by the one of the partners, a member "outed" them to the new Pastor (the old one was more don't ask don't tell), and the next day the Pastor gave them a video to reform them. They were not not interested in reform. To a gay person becoming heterosexual on command would be the same as a heterosexual becoming gay on command. The next day they were disfellowshipped from a life long church affiliation by the new pastor. So, you be the judge. A gay couple saves a nearly aborted child, raises her like a princess and gets bounced from their church after 30 years. Who was unjust in this situation? The Pastor and the Church was.
What's the point here? I think, leave people alone. No one can live the life of another. Thought control and obedience to organizations and leadership, to me, is suspect and not a path that serves the individual in the long run. I don't trust the understanding of such issues to Bronze Age Priests who knew nothing of what we know today about what makes up a human being.
Some theologians make a good case that Paul, who did what should not do and did not do what he thought he should, struggled with his own sexuality issues. Romans 1 is more of a rant and a bit protesting too much. Romans seems to say that homosexuality in men and women is really the punishment God allows , or gives them over to, for worshiping the creature more than the creator and denying God , who any sane person can see exists by the wonders of the natural world.
Here is man who insists, contrary to Jesus teachings about leaving father and mother and clinging to a wife, that being single as himself was best. Here is a man who thinks the only reason to marry is to avoid fornication. Here is a man who felt he had to beat himself literally to keep himself in line , "lest after preaching to others, I myself should become a castaway." Here is a man who had a reputation of having a big mouth and spoke big words but was very weak and unattractive in his real presence.. Whatever Paul struggled when he lamented his weakness in knowing he should not do what he seems to easily find himself doing, he could not bring himself to be specific about just what that problem might be. Perhaps his thorn in the flesh was not merely weak eyes, but something deeper and after begging God "three times" for it to leave him, he simple accepted whatever it was and kept moving. Being "gay" in that culture might mean not practicing it out of fear of the cultural penalties, but one would still quietly struggle with their inexplicable tendencies. Paul said he did not understand this terrible burden in himself and I expect he was right.
I would at least recommend to Church of God ministers that they understand the story of Sodom is not about an entire town of gay men and boys wanting to play around with strangers. I'd also encourage them that if they are going to use the tale to make some point, they read the entire story to its completion and comment on just how Lot makes it into Hebrews 11 after going on record as a father who would offer his virgin daughters to a crowd of gay men and boys to do with what they wish. I also doubt a townful of gay men and boys would want the girls to begin with. It might also be a good time to address the equality of men and women n reality, and not the superiority of men because , "the woman sinned and not the man."
A topic for another time.....