Saturday, August 29, 2009

Three to a Bed

Pretty sexy stuff, ain't it? It may be the family of God, but hey, there's a lot of Jerry Springer stuff in the family album. Take Abraham, for instance, a top-shelf bronze-age bad-ass. A nomadic warlord, mightier than kings. And by Christian standards, he's a walking scandal.

The Father of the Faith for Jews, Muslims, and Christians is maried to his own sister, Sarah. Plus he's pimping her out whenever opportunity knocks. Not to mention, he's also hittin' it with the pretty young Egyptian maid, courtesy of...Sarah! I kid you not, Thanksgiving dinner at Abraham's tent was hot as the Fourth of July. Are you surprised to learn that the girls did not get along after a while?

And so it goes. The downstairs maid becomes the upstairs maid becomes the nurse maid. Meanwhile Sarah's discovering that her Cinderella has become the belle of the ball. That cute little teenager has that cute little baby on that cute little hip, and "By golly he looks like Papa." What's not to like? But if you're Sarah, you're seeeeething! Hagar has gone from baking the bread, to shaking the sheets, to rocking the cradle, to rocking the boat. How could she resist?

"A little smirk, a toss of the hair, a little tension in the air..."

Sarah couldn't sleep in the bed she'd made, but regret ≠ repentance. Regret doesn't make you righteous, it makes you worse. Her mistake, in the shapely form of Hagar, seemed to taunt her, and she grew increasingly abusive. Finally Sarah complained to Abraham who found himself caught in the terrible middle, between Ishmael the heir, and Sarah the jealous wife.

You really need to read the story in Genesis 16 & 21, but I'll try to sum it up: After a visit from an angel and a night of hot lovin', Senior-Citizen-Sarah conceived the child Isaac, according to God's promise. Ishmael mocked Isaac, just as his mother had mocked Sarah, so Sarah demanded Abraham throw them out on the street. Abraham agreed, but only after God promised him He would bless the single momma and her little boy. By God's hand, both sons prospered, and they fathered nations of eternal enemies.

So what's the point of this tale of la ménage à trois? Well, it has nothing whatever to do with sex, but everything to do with religion! With never a hint about sexual morality, St. Paul unwinds the allegory in Galatians 4. Let me boil it down all the way: Sarah/Isaac & Hagar/Ishmael represent the conflict between the life in the Spirit versus the slow death under the Law. Abraham fixed his "little problem". But you? You're still sleeping three to a bed!

Isn't it ironic? I mean, how you're pondering how Abraham could be such a sinner with all that nasty-nasty...and all the while you're under the covers with your back to the holy spirit, spooning with the law of sin and death.

You've been called to live by the spirit of God, the way of eternal life. But you are still clinging to a checklist of rules and social expectations, which is the death warrant of mortal flesh. If you live by the rule-book, you're just slow-rotting flesh; but if you're led by the spirit you're a child of God.

I do not care whether your rule book is stringent or loose, religious or secular, written or unwritten. And I do not care whether you keep it well, or keep it poorly. Those who live by a rule-book are not led by the spirit of God; they are not sons of God. They are sons of earth, and to the earth they shall return.

"You may eat from every tree in the garden, but you may not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

God's first command still stands today. And that goes for you.

I suggest you put your robe on and read the whole story. Believe me, the Bible's version of this tale is better than mine.
Genesis 16-21 & St. Paul's two cents worth, Galatians 4 & 5.

Photo courtesy of Beta Male, voted the sexiest band in Indianapolis. Talented and decadent and creative. That's them in their daytime habitat, writing music!


Anonymous said...

You people have no decency at all. I guess that's because you mock the law of God

Joe B said...

Wow. Are you a bible guy, Anon? Care to explain?

Christi R said...

Anonymous, clearly you missed the point of the post! I don't know where you see mockery - you don't even address the post! I'm not feeling particularly generous today, however I've decided I can't take someone who hides their identity too seriously. Better to just laugh it off and be proud to be one of "you people".

Joe B - I enjoyed the post and I'm going to have more to say after I go back and read the story, although I can't honestly say I believe it could be more entertaining than your version :-)
Still gives me lots to think about and for that I thank you!!!

Joe B said...

Actually, Anon, I suppose you do think I am mocking the Law, sort of the way St Paul insists that the earthly mocks the heavenly (Gal 4), only in reverse.

I'd just be interested to hear how you reached your conclusion.

(It's okay to stay anonymous, just some of the pit-bulls don't care for it. ;-D )

Scott said...

I sort of assumed that Anonymous was joking.

Great post, Joe. Way to be salacious, interesting, and knowledgeable, all at the same time.

Christi R said...

Well, if anon was joking then I apologize for not being very nice.

Eutychus said...

You are a ballsy dude to write this article, and to write in in the way it's written. But it's mild compared to what the apostle Paul wrote in Galatians (ye are fallen from grace"), and even what he said in Romans (the LAW produces all sorts of evil desires.)

Never the less, you are going to get burned at the stake.

Rennar Hoelsk said...

But isn't St Paul talking about the Jewish law, and the Judaizers who said that in order to be saved you must follow the law?

Maybe you're heretic after all

RMW said...

I don't believe I've ever seen certain aspect of dispensationalism illustrated in such a "saucy" manner . That was your intent was it not Joe? If so Bravo and if not lucky shot. But never fear legalism is alive and well and will be as long as those who write the rules seek power over those who must follow them. Just think of all the proper churches Jesus would get tossed out of today simply because of how he dressed, well before he said anything and really got into trouble.

Oh, and for Annoy_US, if your comment was tongue-in-cheek, try the age old "...g" to so indicate or perhaps (;-) bald guy winking with a smile (only if you are bald). Otherwise feel free to check out Gal 5:22-23 particularly the patience, kindness and gentleness part . Better yet is Mt 7:1-5; beware the log. Which begs the question, is making a mockery of God's law better if you are doing so to prevent a imagined mockery of God's law. Just a gentle reminder. The ones from God tend to hurt more....g

Scott said...

I still dig this post, but I think that, because of Joe's particular manner of talking (and writing), his big finale may sound more salacious than it is.

Or perhaps I've been around him so much, that I've just grown used to it.

Anyway, it sounds all well and good to say that we want to live "by the Spirit" rather than by the law, and to not live by man's rule book. Joe writes, "Those who live by a rule-book are not led by the spirit of God; they are not sons of God."

I think, however, that confuses people because it is a bit vague. "So Joe is saying we aren't supposed to obey any rules, and the Bible doesn't matter?" Of course not.

We often use terms like "the law" and "rule books" as vague negative notions without really specifying what we're talking about. So what are we talking about? Hmm. I think "The Law" has multiple definitions here, above and beyond the Torah. What do you think, Joe?

I'll also mention that Rennar has a good point.

Joe B said...

Not much time to write today.

Rennar H, it's about time someone plowed into me for this one! You probably brought the strongest possible argument, too. How very Lutheran of you!

"Apart from the law, sin is not imputed" says Paul in Romans. Yet was there no death in the world before Moses? Of course there was! "Law" entered the world through Adam, in the garden. It came in the form of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. (FOTOKOGE, henceforth.) He sinned by eating of it and it brought forth death. Before the FALL sin was not imputed, not before Moses. Let's not suppose St Paul was a doofus, he understood this (probably because he was not raised in church.)See Romans 5:14. "Sin is not taken into account where there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses". Obviously, the Law is universal, and the Jewish law is merely the highest example of it, and the one most pressing as Paul wrote Galatians, et al.

Law is not the solution to the "death problem", it IS the death problem. The root of all sin is gobbling up LawBerries--isn't that clear enough from the story? Yet "Christian" religion continually swerves back into the rut of concocting ever-more tempting recipes for your favorite fruit.
If you limit all mention of "The Law" to pre-Reform Judaism, you may as well rip about 40 pages out of the New Testament, maybe more, plus the meaning of the remainder would be utterly changed.

"Hier stand ich; Ich kann nicht anderes. Gott helfen mir!"

Did that score me any L. points, Rennar? ;-)


Joe B said...

The liberty that we have in Jesus is not lawlessness.

It is the "law of the spirit of life" that "set me free from the law of sin and death."

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. These sum up the Law and the Prophets."

If that ain't good enough Law for ya, it's time to find yerself a new savior.

Joe B said...

"legalism is alive and well and will be as long as those who write the rules seek power over those who must follow them."

Slave mind people actually get comfort from being dominated. Others think they are so good that they're the rightful masters of the slaves. Galatians describes this timeless religious codependence of guilt and pride.

Joe B said...

RMW, do you mean using dipensationalism to explain why it's okay for Abe & Co (but not christians) to double their marital fun?

It is a funny theological thought!

Rennar Hoelsk said...

I never argue before but I will now. Galatians is talking about the Jewish law, it says so. There may be other "law", but what he says in Galatians is about the jewish law, particular circumcision.

You are stretch too far.

Joe B said...

I hear you Rennar H. I don't mind the argument, I started it and you are always kind.

I already mentioned that Romans equated jewish law with conscience and social law, so I won't rehash what did not impress you. So I'll return to how Galatians 4:8-10 speaks of the law:

Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, where unto ye desire again to be in bondage?

He clearly says that the Galatians were pagans, and he utterly equates the law and the "miserable principles they once lived under."

Again in Colossians chapter 2 St Paul again lists requirements of the jewish law right along with mysticism and acetecism, and calls them "basic principles of this world" and says they are based on "human commands and teachings."

Whether within Galatians of in the whole sweep of the bible, the whole message is that we are called in grace, by faith. He did not call us to a lifelong menage a trois with the law of sin and death which he spilled his lifeblood to free us from.