Saturday, March 14, 2009
Did Jesus used to be a kinda redneck racist?
By Miguel De La Torre
Monday, 23 February 2009
(ABP) -- Our faith tells us that anyone can come to Jesus. The evangelistic message is that Jesus will turn no one away. We can come just as we are, ill and diseased. All who seek healing will find salvation and liberation in the arms of Jesus, for his unconditional love accepts everyone -- regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Or does it? Matthew 15:21-28 recounts the story of a Canaanite woman who came to Jesus desperately seeking a healing for her daughter.
The Canaanites during Jesus' time were seen by Jews as being a mixed race of inferior people, much in the same way that some Euro-Americans view Hispanics today, specifically the undocumented. The Canaanites of old -- like Latino/as of our time -- did not belong. They were no better than "dogs."
For this reason Jesus' response to the Canaanite woman is troublesome. When she appealed to Jesus to heal her sick child, our Lord responded by saying: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It is not good to take the bread of the children and throw it to the dogs." ...
Read the rest of "Was Jesus a Racist?" by Miguel De La Terre, associate professor of social ethics at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, from American Baptist Press.
That's why he's proud to call me his friend.
Me, I'm just a son of a bitch.
Alan is right in a way, but one does have to wonder at the tone Jesus begins with in this text. Obviously the passage belongs to the other occasions when Jesus tests the faith of supplicants, both to test faith and to exhibit it to onlookers, seemingly.
But would the historical Jesus speak so harshly to an innocent in order to subvert the wrong of prejudicial treatment? Outside of religious know-it-alls and his closest disciples, this would seem the only time that I remember off the top of my head. Usually he treats it straightforwardly. The woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery. And also the leper, the blind, etc, all of whom suffered social prejudice that infirmity was due to sin.
Or did Matthew and any editors drop the ball on this too quickly told pericope and fall into a blogger's trap?:
Praecipitatum verius quam editum.
Did you read any of the comments? Jesus is perfect! You're (the writer) a heretic!
Sinless doesn't mean perfect. Truly human and truly divine doesn't mean all-knowing, does it?
Is that racism "sin" necesarrily, or ignorance? Was Jesus ignorant of some things? Clearly, since he is depicted as growing and learning.
So, I see two strains to the objections in the comments: 1. Jesus is perfect, therefore could never be so mean. 2. Racism is always sin; Jesus was sinless; the writer is being heretical.
you bet! was the writer being heretical? that's kinda hard since there was NO CHURCH OR CREED to rail against. Gospels say a crap load of things... the worst thing we can do is read through the lens of John and Paul for the Synoptics... you'd miss so much that way.
LeeLee, I'll bet!
Here, the text is reading us. We are meant to overhear whether "we" are the disciples and crowd around Jesus (still a literal reading) or, more probably, the reader of the Gospel. In this sense, we are shocked by the words into a realization of our own exclusive and cultic reading.
This could be intended to indicate how God chose to be incarnated as a Jew, scandalous dogs to the Gentiles, or opened salvation to the Gentiles, scandalous dogs to the Jews.
One internal problem with the literal approach is that Jesus withdrew to a region (Lebenon) he knew full well was inhabited by "dogs." The subversive intent is not very well hidden. We are supposed to read the tongue in cheek tone pretty quickly.
It is historically improbable that Jesus went from Jerusalem all the way up to Tyre and Sidon and then back down to Galilee.
He came for the benefit of the Chosen People of God, yet as He knew His purpose was to die as the Perfect Sacrifice, to suppose that He knew full well that all would be welcome to Paradise is not in the least bit a stretch. Thus, this woman was in no way at risk of being turned down by Jesus. His point was being made for the Jews, not for the woman herself. In addition, He was not calling her a dog, like Torre foolishly pretends to believe, but only using a rhetorical analogy or metaphor.
But, hey, thanks for commenting, MA. Srsly. That *is* the prevailing view, I guess, judging from the comments at the end of the piece. (Shudder).
Mark calls her the modern equivalent of a 'woman of color' and Mathew calls her the 'N...r word'.
The heretics at the Jesus Seminar gave this a grey color if my source is correct.
Paul, who wrote long before Mark or Mathew were penned of course has nothing like this...remember the net coming down ...eat this?
Regardless, what does this have to do with immigration policies? Those are Caesars business.
"Out with Truly Human Jesus. In with Totally Superhero Christ from Outerspace."
Don't be silly. For me it's in with the True Jesus, out with the idiot Willem Dafoe Jesus of Last Temptation of Christ, who stumble-bums his way to the Cross. Forgive me if I prefer to maintain a more reverant perception of my Lord and Savior as opposed to a thinking my relationship with Him is chummy enough to call Him a "superior son of a bitch", or to think of him as some kind of holy Forrest Gump that needs anyone to tell Him why He's here.
But you go ahead. Feel free to think He's just another schmuck off the street. He felt power go out from him when a woman suffering from constant bleeding touched his cloak. He always seemed able to escape His opponents until the hour of His death was nigh. He knew when the Pharisees were out to mess with Him.
You mock me for holding up Scripture as I do, but you read things that don't exist, such as Christ as a half-wit being schooled by an average human being. Please. Give Him a little credit.
oh i picked up what you were putting down. i was trying to say that those who say that the prof. is wrong are prolly reading through a John/Paul lens of Christ... a view that the synoptics just don't have.
ironic that those who defend the bible the loudest don't get the nuance of the very thing they are trying to defend!
which is about:
The problem with these is that even those who don't read the bible literally and don't read the gospel miracles literally, still read the teaching passages as a true record.
It is the impact of the Enlightenment's regard for Jesus as a moral teacher, ala Hume, Locke, Jeffereson, Franklin, etc. They all had a bible trimmed of mystical fat and thought they had a historical record.
It asks a question you may have a natural allergy to, Is Globalization God's Will?
But you would also have some extended worthwhile thoughts.
Maybe you should post and link and your response.
(And don't mention me.)