Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah

Mr Mike Timmon's recent letter (Your opinions: Column is light on scripture) caught my attention. While I do not know him and thus cannot pretend to know his theology I think some the bible verses he pointed out are indeed very relevant to our time. I however, am a text guy and so I prefer to read the text for what it is instead of reading my own cultural ideals into it.

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is found in Gneisses and according to the text God judges it for being wicked and immoral. The scripture Mr. Timmon's quoted in Jude does indeed speak about the story however it does not say anything at all about homosexuals. In the original language and most translations It actually reads "They indulged in gross immorality." If we really want to know what the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were perhaps we should consult the bible itself. Speaking through the Prophet Ezekiel God says:

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen." - Eze 16:50

In the original language the word translated as "detestable things" (tow`ebah) is used elsewhere to speak of of eating shellfish, wearing clothes made of mixed fabrics, and interracial marriages.

In a time when our country forcefully occupies two others, where we have an epidemic of obesity, and record numbers of families loosing their homes to foreclosure perhaps we should be reading the story of Sodom and Gomorrah with a little more interest in what it actually identifies as wickedness.

As for the rest of the scripture Mr Timmons used, is there any solid evidence that the gay teenagers were indeed married since that is what those texts are about? If not then the text once separated from the rhetoric is at best unrelevant.

Most Christians in the west focus on personal guilt and judgement. The common theme seems to be "If everyone would just be good enough, then God would come back and take us home." This is a dangerous stream of thought professed most notably by the Pharisees of two thousand years ago. I believe the Phrase Jesus used was "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye"