Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Today's Scripture Lesson

Sometimes when I have been in debates with people on the right, I've wondered how it is that we are both turning to Scripture for inspiration or both serve God with confidence in our calling. I have been known to quip that perhaps all we are proving is that God has a sense of humor.

This weekend at The Interfaith Alliance annual conference, I heard Rev. Dr. James Ryan of the Colorado Council of Churches talked about the differences between "Ten Commandment Christians" and "Sermon on the Mount" Christians." The Christians in audience got the distinction immediately.

It's the difference between a rule or act centered morality or a morality based in justice and right relations. Both are present in the Bible, but the emphasis is really quite different. The Religious Institute, the organization I direct, calls for a sexual ethic based on relationships not individual sexual acts.

I started to play with his analogy and would love your thoughts. Might the Jewish version be "Ten Commandment Jews" or "Wisdom Literature Jews?" Or on sexual ethics, "Leviticus and Romans" sexual moralists or "Song of Songs" theologians? What other Biblical contrasts make sense to you?


Lizard Eater said...

Matthew 25:35 Christian or a John 14:6 Christian?

That's always my question. Especially after beginning seminary with a quite-fundamentalist professor who felt that Jesus's words were minor and what was important was salvation.

revjillmaxi said...

how about the christians/jews/others who feel the need to choose between the two and those who see them as parts of an integrated and mature spirituality? in the same vein as unity versus diversity; self versus community, and so on. incidentally, the rabbinic commentary (wisdom) intrinsic to the jewish way of reading scripture unlocks the ten statements with great wisdom - after looking at them this way, there really is no split. or there doesn't have to be - unless it serves someone's purpose (whatever that might be).