Hi xxxxx and xxxx,No apologies necessary. I knew from the beginning the tone of this little cartoon (and it'scontent) were liable to rattle some cages. I'm thankful for your response! As I'm prone to do withthese things, I'm going to start from a ways back and work towards the particular points youraise. Bear with me.If we were to boil your comment down to its essence, the one thing you seem eager tocommunicate is that obedience to God must be a primary concern in the life of a Christian. Onthis we can agree. But it's a fairly hollow agreement, for people of nearly all faiths agree that weought to follow God passionately, yet for various reasons they disagree (just as passionately) asto what such obedience entails.From here we can go one step further. We both agree that we ought to be in obedience to God'sWord. Now we've lessened the abstraction somewhat, but perhaps not as much as it ﬁrst appears,for I am not of the mind that God's Word is simply and straightforwardly "the Bible." Now thatmay sound shocking to some ears, but historically it's as ancient as the Bible itself and has beenheld by many, if not most, orthodox thinkers (Martin Luther being among the most memorablerepresentatives). One might respond that perhaps God's Word is not exhausted by the Bible, butsurely the Bible is
God's word. I'll admit that this is a very common view inevangelicalism, however, my own studies of scripture have lead me to question this assumption.What began my journey was an inability to reconcile verses likePs 137, Ex 21:20-21, 2 Chron15:12-13with the love I see in Christ. And as a Christian, if I am to locate God's Word anywhere,it's going to be in Christ (John 1). What to do?The usual (and appropriate) response to such difﬁculties is to consider them in light of theircontext, and any given text has a number of different kinds of contexts, e.g., textual, cultural,historical, and even theological. Any good interpretation of scripture engages in this practice.The more it does so, the better. The problem is, it's really' hard work and the results are far fromcertain. In many, many cases what the author was getting at has been lost to us altogether. Butthis should not surprise us for between us and scriptures there exists a
great distance on eachand every single point I just mentioned. In the process of doing such hard work, it becomesapparent that the "clear word of God" is not nearly so clear. Furthermore, one comes to recognizethe role one's own assumptions play (for better or worse) in the theological interpretation of scripture.To take an example you raised: Sodom and Gomorrah. I know we've always heard it explained tous that this passage demonstrates God's hatred of homosexuality, but when we go back and readthe story carefully, we may notice it is not the fact that the town is over-run by homosexuals thatleads to it's destruction (note, it was condemned before the mob attempted to rape [also note:rape] the angels), but it's unspeciﬁed "wickedness." We can add to this two further things. 1)raping someone, male or female was a commonly used tactic for utterly humiliating another (itwas done to prisoners of war all the time). And 2) Ezekial does not locate the sin of Sodom ashaving anything at all to do with sexuality. Ezekiel sees the sin being arrogance, gluttony, and alack of concern for the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:48-49).