I've had this idea swirling around my head for days. There's been an awful lot of Christianity in the news of late, and most of it is in conjunction with our diffferently-winged friends and how they tend to interpret the teachings of the prophet.
Let's dive right in and think about the fairer sex. Christ had much to say about the ladies. (All quotes from the Bible, duh...but aggregated via Liberals Like Christ.
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, "Woman, you are set free from your ailment." When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day." But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?" When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. (Luke 13; 10-17)
It is telling, perhaps, that immediately upon resurrection, Jesus did not appear first to his disciples...but rather to Mary Magdelene.
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you." So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." (Matthew 28: 1-10)
And somewhat randomly, but perhaps relevant to the abortion debate, we'll end with this one:
When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. (John 16:21)
But that's not all. Jesus had quite a lot to say about the poor and the downtrodden. This is perhaps the most significant teachings out of all the religious text, for it tells us how we should behave as a society, and show compassion for the least among us. (These are all via Open Bible Info
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)
And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” (Luke 3:11)
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. (Luke 6: 20-17)
Interesting that these all speak of giving it up and caring for others with that wealth that God provided for you. As citizens of this Earth, we all have a responsibility to each other...and if one of us is suffering or in need, aren't we all the poorer for ignoring it?
But ever onward. Surprisingly, Christ had little to say about marriage, preferring on more than one ocassion to quote the Old Testament.
"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:4-6, although originally from Genesis.)
But then there is this from the Book of Hebrews...astonishingly enough, it seems to have been written by Paul. Yes, the same Paul the anti-gay crusaders hide behind with some of his other writings.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:4-7)
I'll finish our laundry list of scripture today with a reference to the only Bible passage that really matters, in my opinion. There are thousands of words written about how we should treat each other, but it all boils down to one sentence, taken somewhat out of context here from the parable of the Samaritan
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
I don't know about you, but I've read the Bible cover to cover. (although not recently.) I simply can't fathom what it is that other people are seeing in those pages. Christ is not mean or hateful, nor is he guiding us to a divided society between the haves and the have-nots. (Insert your preferred division here: Rich/poor, white/black, gay/straigh, native/immigrant, etc.)
I have recently read that the Bible is quite an extraordinary book; if you read it with hate and malice in your heart, you can find many passages therein to back up your positions. Likewise, if you read it with faith and piety, it can become a powerful guide for life and society.
There's always talk about battling for the "hearts and minds" of an enemy in the context of war...but we've strayed so far away from that domestically that I fear we may be losing this battle. Is it possible that my minister friend is correct, and the further away from biblical teachings we get, the more debased society becomes?
Christ went by the title "Rabbi"...which is loosely translated as "Teacher". Think back to your educational career, and the best teachers you had growing up. Do you still remember and use things you learned from them? Christ is possibly the best teacher of them all...but only if we are willing students and can interpret and apply those teachings to our lives and society in a compassionate, helpful manner. What is happening in the United States today is quite the opposite; expanding hate, ignorance, and malice via incorrect interpretations of the teachings of an immortal prophet is probably not going to end well for anyone.