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“Saul, why do you persecute me?” “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” The central plot of the story of the early church in Acts hinges around these two sentences. They both involve God telling very devout religious men that very reasonable boundaries they had set based on a straightforward interpretation of the holy scriptures their people had received were wrong.
They’re actually in back to back chapters. In Acts 9, Saul of Tarsus sees a blinding light in which Jesus calls out to him and stops him from persecuting what by any orthodox understanding of Torah was a blasphemous, heretical, dangerous new movement. In Acts 10, God tells Peter that he must stop dissociating from people his Bible had told him were unclean by giving him a vision of unclean animals that would have been as abhorrent to him as pornography would be to us today, because up to that moment, Peter’s religious identity was based upon staying clean through the strict observance of mitzvot, and the coming of the Messiah did not change Peter’s clear duties as a devout Jew according to Torah.
Visions - God - World - None - Readers
I consider these two visions to be pivotal to our understanding how God moves in our world. None of my regular readers would be surprised that I see them as blatantly obvious signposts for discerning God’s will about queer inclusion in the church. And I so wish that the delegates to the United Methodist General Conference in a few weeks would ponder these visions as well as the original Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 that had to be called because the apostle Paul was preaching a salvation that contradicted the boundaries laid out in the Hebrew scripture. Whatever else is true, our **** bishop Karen Oliveto is about as displeasing to traditionalists today as...
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