Some Rhetorical Questions about Love, Foot Washing, and Gaydar

FootWashingQuestions for the day:  If proposed legislation passes that would “protect” Christian businesses from having to serve gay folks, how will those Christians know who is gay and who is not?  Where exactly is gaydar on those lists of gifts of the Spirit in either Romans or I Corninthians?

Undaunted by their defeat in Arizona, some Christians are pushing laws in other states that would allow discrimination for religious reasons.  This is not just a “gay issue;” there is no enumeration in some of these laws of who could be excluded on religious grounds.  I suppose Christian businesses could refuse to serve those who live together without being married, unwed mothers, people with tattoos, men with long hair, women with short hair or wearing jewelry, and on and on.

Here’s another pair of questions:  Aren’t we Christians called to serve our neighbor? And wasn’t Jesus’ point in the parable of the Good Samaritan that our neighbor is well, everyone?

I’ve been pondering this over the past few days as I prepared a sermon about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples in John 13.  This story amazes me, that Jesus – the Son of God – would stoop down and clean the stinking, filthy feet of his followers.  That God in human flesh would take on the role of a servant – or a slave! – for that motley band who had followed him for three years but still had no real idea what he was all about, and who would desert him (and deny even knowing him) when he was arrested in just a few hours.

I am blown away by the moment when Jesus stoops down at Judas’ feet.  The King of the Universe pours water over the feet of the traitor, and then wipes away the mud and the muck and the filth from the feet of the one who would soon turn Jesus over to those who wanted him dead . . . with a kiss.  Jesus served in just about the most humiliating way possible this man who, John tells us, Jesus knew is doing the work of Satan.

Another question: Isn’t this scene of self-abasing service a picture of the radical love of Jesus, a love that embraces and serves those who oppose and differ from us?

And a real-world question: When we Christians make our “rights” our focus, when we try to use the power of the world rather than the power of love, aren’t we are playing the game Judas – and by proxy, Satan – played?  Judas/Satan enlisted the powers of the world – the religious leaders, the might of the Roman empire.  Jesus responded with . . . love and service.

It seems to me that if we Christians are going to love as Jesus loved, then no matter how we feel about gay folks – or anyone else who is “different” –instead of seeking a legal mandate to exclude “them,” we would be going out of our way to serve especially those who act or believe differently.

A final question: Wouldn’t it be awesome if Christians were known more for how we serve (love) without limits rather than who we seek to exclude?

About pastordavesimpson

I'm an unexpected pastor. Why unexpected? Because no one is more surprised than me that I'm a pastor. See the "About" page on my blog for more info.
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8 Responses to Some Rhetorical Questions about Love, Foot Washing, and Gaydar

  1. dhkendall says:

    One thing I like about the parable of the Good Samaritan (And I’m sure you’re aware of it too, as it fits in with your theology) is who the focus of the story was. A Samaritan. A Samaritan stopped to help when the “religious” didn’t. Now, “Samaritan” might not mean much to 21st century you and I, if it does mean anything, it means someone who does good and is a good person based on Jesus’ story alone. But, back in Jesus’ day, Samaritan was a four letter word. (They weren’t good spellers, either. 😉 ) These were people who the religious didn’t talk to. They were basically a Jewish sect from what I could tell, split away from conventional Judaism, and thus looked down upon by Jews. An equivalent today might be Muslims or gays, but the more I think about it, the more I think a good example of the Samaritan today would be the non-religious, who split away from Christianity but still do good, especially when those who are too concerned about religion, and their personal optics, to do good. (Didn’t Jesus say somewhere about those who do good yet aren’t part of the Kingdom of God are more blessed than those who are part of the Kingdom of God but don’t do justice?)

    Also, I’ve always taken issue wight he fact that Judas was doing Satan’s work (does the Bible say that? I’m not sure). Without Judas setting into motion the events of Jesus’s arrest and trial, Jesus would not have died on the cross. And without Jesus dying on the cross, well I don’t even want to think about that. The thing is, Satan doesn’t want Jesus dying on the cross either. If Jesus dies on the cross, that means that he can be conquered, we have a way to escape Satan, and that’s bad news for him. If Satan was working in anyone that week, it would have been Pilate, who offered the people one last chance to not kill Jesus (by offering Barabbas (aka “not the son of God”) in his place.)

    • Good stuff, David. You should start a blog . . .

      Judas is such a fascinating character. As far as his affiliation with Satan, both Luke (22:3) and John (13:27) say that Satan “entered into” Judas at the Last Supper.

      Does that mean that Judas had no choice, that “the devil made him do it?” That is certainly one interpretation, but I don’t find that compelling. I certainly believe Judas – and we – can be tempted, but the action is our choice.

      I don’t buy the idea that Judas was some kind of divinely appointed agent of God’s will, either. Surely God’s plan was for Jesus to die on the cross, but not by manipulating Judas or Pilate or anyone else to make it happen. One of the interesting things about “Jesus Christ Superstar” is that it explores this idea about Judas, except adding somewhat of a sinister edge to it – that Judas was God’s pawn somehow. That’s why he kills himself in the Andrew Lloyd Weber/Tim Rice telling of the story – “I’ll do what you want to do but please don’t say I’m damned for all time.” (Obviously a paraphrase of the lyrics.)

      But I think what is most compelling about Judas is that he is JUST LIKE US – he is selfish and has his own ideas about what God/Jesus “should” do and he gets himself into trouble. Yet Jesus still loves him, still washes his feet, even though Jesus knew, perhaps even when he picked him as a disciple (John 6:70-71) that he was going to betray Jesus. Sort of like Jesus knew we would do (we all betray Jesus sometimes with our words and actions).

  2. It is in Paul as well: Romans 12:14-21. I don’t like the “burning coals on their heads” bit, but that is a quote from Proverbs.

    • Yes indeed – Romans 12:14-21 is powerful stuff. And it is HARD to do . . . when I preached about the foot washing yesterday I spent some time talking about how difficult it is for me to put “love your enemies” into practice. I would rather just serve the folks I like and who like me . . . and love everyone else but from a distance. But that’s not what Jesus did or calls us to do.

      I do disagree with one thing in your comment – I do like the “burning coals on their heads” thing . . . it’s true and I think it’s very cool the Bible acknowledges it. But you’re right, I shouldn’ t like it so much.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Anonymous says:

    It blows my mind that someone would have such a discriminating way of life! Do they ever read their Bible? They surely are not following the spirit of the law! How about the 11th commandment?
    A little apart from your writing, but wonder if people who disagreed with them boycotted their store? Would a hit in the pocketbook make an impression? That would be interesting!

    • Blows my mind, too. People have historically been willing to take a “hit in the pocketbook” to stand up for their discriminatory views – those southern drug stores were certainly willing to do without African-Americans spending money at their lunch counters back in the 50’s and 60’s.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  4. jennyelaine says:

    Yes, thank you Pastor Dave for this subject…refreshing!!! Because, who did Jesus truly die for anyway?…everyone, or just those who we think are acting ‘right’? If Jesus died for everyone, then why are we doing things…essentially creating stumbling blocks and obstacles…that Paul would say are things we do that are getting in the way of people coming to know Christ. He basically said that he’d become a Jew to attract Jews to Christ…and so on. He would step into their world a bit…take interest in their lives. He said something that was very powerful…that he would NOT do ANYTHING that would get in the way of ‘different kinds of people’ (my words) coming to know Christ. However it does appear that passing laws to change people’s behaviors is more important to a lot of Christians then it is to bring them to Christ. 😦 😦

  5. jennyelaine says:

    Reblogged this on Jennyelaine's Blog and commented:
    Powerful stuff!!!!

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