Saturday, 8 October 2011

Jesus and the outsider

Isn't it interesting that Jesus spent so much time with people who were on the absolute fringe of the religious establishment of the day. With the woman at the well (John 4), a Rabbi should of never been seen talking to a Samaritan woman, and the fact that she was there on her own taking water tells us enough about her situation. With the woman caught in adultery (John 8), the Pharisees simply used her to trick Jesus by mis-using the Deaturonic law regarding adultery, but Jesus spoke up for her. The blind man (John 9) was cast out because of his disability, and the sins of his forefathers were blamed, evidently something that Jesus didn't agree with.
It strikes me that he had no time for the rule keeping of the Pharisees and worked on the basis of inclusivity, treating those on the outside with absolute respect, having dialogue with the person. But that doesn't mean that he promoted their autonomy, far from it. With regards to the woman at the well, the conversation revolved around the number of husbands she had, and the fact that her current partner wasn't. To me this was only to highlight that her identity was found in relationships, not in God. Therefore he was offering her a better way (the living water), a chance to relocate her identity. A relationship based on grace, which involves the regeneration of the self and ultimate transformation. And I accept how imposing your own views on others is looked upon today, but if there is something that good, trans formative and positive it becomes wrong not to share it. So for those of us who are a part of a Christian community, it cannot be insular or inward looking, because it only becomes another form of tribal belonging which can be found anywhere. We have been given a wonderful and undeserved gift,and it therefore gives us no right to look down on anyone. Our community should be pointing people towards new life found in relatioship with God, nothing more or less...

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