Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oppression

Directly from a friend's blog...

To Set at Liberty Those who are Oppressed...with Liberty and Justice for All.

Fighting for justice and against oppression is what we're SUPPOSED to do, right? As Christians, as Americans, as Humans. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, right? Is there anybody who doesn't agree with that?

Liberating the oppressed, reaching out and responding to the marginalized, showing hospitality and kindness to the outcast, is how Jesus defined his own ministry and the kind of ministry to which he called the disciples.

Instead, certain people in certain churches in certain contexts have decided, and continually decide, to be the oppressers. I'm trying not to generalize. I recognize and affirm the individualilty and particularity of each human person.

But there are A LOT of people who seem content with their oppression, even comfortable with it, even proud of it. Building fences, building fences to bolster the fences, denying people communion, denying people the right to worship where, when, how, to whom/what, they please.

Here it is, folks. I have to say it. It might trouble some of you, it might get me in trouble. But right now, I have to say it:

1. Saying that women don't have the right to preach is oppression.
2. Saying that homosexual persons don't have the right to preach or marry or even become members of a church is oppression. And a church, say the United Methodist Church, that does not allow ANYONE to preach and proclaim the gospel is a participant in oppression.
3. Denying anyone communion EVER is oppression.
4. Thinking your tradition's baptism is better or, um, more official, is oppression.
5. Building fortified fences on our borders is oppression.
6. Calling to claim English as America's official language is oppression.

The ultimate oppression is the idea that one person, one group of people, one tradition, one nation can have complete and sole ownership of truth (or of God, which might be six and one). If you (I) ever, in any way, think you (I) are (am) better than anyone else or have a clearer understanding of the mysteries of life than anyone else, you are (I am) wrong and you are (I am) oppressing.

The questions:
1. Knowing this, saying this, believing this, how do we claim Jesus Christ as the way to salvation?
2. How do we show tolerance to the intolerant? Kindness to the unkind? Love to the hateful? Are we supposed to? Aren't we supposed to hate what it is evil and cling to what is good?
3. How do we teach "liberty and justice for all" to the affluent, the liberated, the powerful?
4. How are we, individually and collectively, participating in oppression and what are we doing, individually and collectively, to set at liberty ALL those who are oppressed?

The answer, always: grace.

Your friend, brother, partner, collaborator, Brad-owner of one microscopic atom in one grain of sand of the vastness of the truth of God.

An unexamined life is not worth living.

(Courtesy of Brad Bryan: http://zepplinrules.blogspot.com/)

5 comments:

Karl said...

I see from the notes that this is directly form a freinds blog. Is it safe the say you agree with all the points they are making on this blog or do you copying this for people to think about these ideas and then to comment on them in general? Just curious.

ourpjlife said...

Yes , if you were to go to Brad's blog, you will see my comment there. I don't copy posts just for the sake of it, I did so on this one because I agree with many points. Thanks for asking!

Karl said...

I wasn't trying to offend (I don't copy posts just for the sake of it, I did so on this one because I agree with many points. Thanks for asking!), because you do say "many points" but you did not say all points. I just did not want to assume you agrreed with all the points (as you say you don't, but not which one you do and which ones you don't?).

Anyways, Oppression can differ so much between person to person. What is oppression to one person can be protection for another. Example, we oppress kids that they can not vote until they are 18 years old and we oppress 10 years from drinking alcohol. While some people might debate the 18 years old and voting, not many people will disagree with oppressing 10 years from drinking alcohol (though I suppose there might even be some that would argue there as long as the 10 year old did not get drunk it's ok), but you see my point, oppession can mean so many things to so many people.

A far as some of the points from this blog, I suppose I would disagree with a couple of them.

"1. Saying that women don't have the right to preach is oppression." Here I would be wondering about 1 Timothy 2: 12 and 1 Corinthians 14: 33-35? The Bible is clear about what it says in these passages. There is not much doubt what is said. NO DOUBT, there have been women throughout history that God has used to do great and mighty things; the Old Testament has a few I can think of. But, God's Word does show us God's order of things as He choose it to be. I am not making up what I want to say as it might be P.C. to do in todays world of going along with the culture. I guess that would make God's Word Oppressive per this point.

"2. Saying that homosexual persons don't have the right to preach or marry or even become members of a church is oppression." I hear this one time and time again, but what does God's Word say? Matthew 19: 4-6 Jesus confirms what marriage should be. The Bible defines homosexual behavior as “dishonorable” and “shameless” and “contrary to nature” in Romans 1: 26-27. From here we can see the Bible shows that marriage is for one man & one women. We can also see that homosexual behavior is a sin. And like any sin, if you are open about it and claiming it is OK, then I have a hard time see how that person can be a pastor (as I would have a hard time with any person that is open about thinking a particular sin like lying, physically hurting others or any other sin being a pastor). Sure pastor are not perfect and they all sin like all of us, but a true pastor will not opening be saying it's ok to steal whatever you want from others (against God's Word). There is a different from willful sinning and the sinful nature we are all have in this human form until we get to go to that next life with Jesus. There are other verses that also deal with this subject so I guess that would make God's Word Oppressive per this point too.

"3. Denying anyone communion EVER is oppression." In 1 Corinthians 11: 27-29, the Bible warns us here of taking the communion in an unworth manner "eats and drinks judgement on himself". There is a reason to denying some people communion if you want to protect them from this warning. I guess this is where I hear the "you can't judge people" quote from some people. But lets look at God's Word on this too in 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 where we are told that God's Word is "...useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training...", how can you rebuke, correct or teach if you are unable to judge a person actions. Once again, I guess that would make God's Word Oppressive per this point also.

Is God oppessive? Or is God looking out for our best interest, even if it seems foolish to the world (1 Corinthians 1: 27)? I believe God to be a loving God that teaches us what to do and not to do for our well being. If God's Love seems like oppression to some, then I guess it comes back to that "point of view". I rather go by God's Word then what the P.C. thing today would be to say on these matters.

I will stop there as to answer every point would be very time consuming. I'm sure I have said more then some might want to hear at this point anyways. Interesting discussion though, does make you think about what you believe and why.

ourpjlife said...

Karl,

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Something you need to know about me... I strongly disagree with biblical literalists and feel that the bible is a text written down by white, males in a very patriarchal society.

The bible says many things and has been used many times over the course of history to justify actions, terrible, cruel actions (ie the Nazis, the Crusades, slavery, etc).

I believe in the bible as a document that captures the story of us as a christian faith, but I do not believe that it is the inerrant word of God. I struggle with it being divinely inspired. I do believe that it was people capturing how they saw God in their lives and in the world around them.

I think the main difference between you and I, is that we both view the bible and its importance, relevance, and "divine-ness" differently. I feel that because of this, we may not ever see eye to eye.

I also think that there are many situations and facts that can support the points that our fellow blogger Brad lifts up. I think many of these are not biblically based and could actually be supported by what the bible says, just by quoting or even worse, prooftexting (using/quoting/manipulating the bible to justify one's point) different passages of scripture.

These are my thoughts. I appreciate our dialogue about this post...

Karl said...

I appreciate you explaning you point od view. That does help to explain our differences here.

I do believe the Bible to be the Word of God, written by God but inspired by God throught the Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible to be inerrant and not just a History (which I do agree it is a historical book too).

I understand that there have been many that have misused the Bible for thier own gain and selfish ambitions (ie the Nazis, the Crusades, slavery, etc) and they did use it to do bad things. I just don't believe that we can blame God for the misuse and abuse of His Word in the Bible. If we look at the way they used the Bible, I think most of us would understand they were either prooftexting or just plain making stuff up to get thier explainations.

Here one example I would like to make. If I starting telling people you think we should go around hurting some people and I misuse or prooftexting things you had said. I think you would agree I was misusing your words and if we asked you personally, that you would say that you did not mean the things I just said you were saying to do. Here, people can look at this situation and see that your words were not bad, but that other people were misusing them. So, as the Bible was misused and prooftexting by many people (ie the Nazis, the Crusades, slavery, etc) to do bad things, a true study of God's Word would prove God was not really approving those bad things.

That is the how I see the Bible and those who misuse it. I can see how those who are looking at the misuse of those people of the Bible somehow approving those things, how they would not see the Bible as inerrant. I hope this just clears up where I come from and why, and I do hope I understood what you were saying and not putting words in your mouth either.

I guess we might not see eye to eye on some things. I do appreciate your commenst as while. I enjoy talking about these issues as they are important to talk about and also learnign where other people are coming from and why they believe what they believe. I not sure about you and Brian, but this whole bloging thing is a bit addictive at time, but is like that back and forth.

Thanks again and talk to you guys later. God Bless!

Karl