Not everything Biblical is Christian. Part 12 - social constructs

Hey Johnboy

Deuteronomy is a rich source for these topics. It is such a schizophrenic book. There are progressive ideas right next to crazy, crazy stuff. I'm not sure there is any coherence to these verses and chapters, sort of like Proverbs or James, but a collection of rules for the community. Today I read chapter 22.

It starts off with taking care of lost animals until their owner shows up. That's cool. Finder's keepers does not apply in this community. Then it attacks cross dressing. Then it talks about creation care, and not killing a mother bird. The lines on cross dressing are, Deut. 22:5 A woman must not wear men’s clothing, and men must not put on women’s garments. The Eternal your God is horrified when anyone does this. How does this even work out in the world today? Are Scottish Christians who participate in Highland games wearing kilts horrifying Jesus? How did that even work out in ancient Israel? If priests are walking around with long robes, how different are they from dresses? If shepherds are wearing short robes, how are they different from mini-dresses? Before spandex was invented, some very strong and tough football players use to wear large women's hosiery to stay warm on the field. Was God horrified by them? If these verses are translated to a tropical culture where everyone wears speedos and nothing on top, what is the application of this verse? This might be a Mosaic thing, just like an "eye for a eye" principle which Jesus overrules, but it's not Christian. 

However, Christians want to impose rules like this both inside and outside the church. Why? Before the invention of the word "homosexual" in the 1800's the King James Bible translated Paul's greek in Romans and Corinthians condemning "effeminate" men. What does this even mean? It's a malleable, social construction. When you go see well-costumed Shakespeare plays in the park, those guys in hosiery and fine silk were wearing the masculine outfits of the day, but not in our culture. If it cross-dressing means different things to anyone depending on their location and time then does it mean anything? If men kissing men is offensive and slightly creepy to Americans, but not to Italians, then what does it mean to ignore Paul's command to "greet each other with a holy kiss"? Is this or is it not a biblical command for the church for all time and across all cultures? If not, who is truly an inerrantist? Since no one really is, why do lines get drawn arbitrarily at what we accept as to what Jesus really meant? Head coverings are essential and holy kisses are not. It's not rational, nor does it have to be, but it shouldn't be defended as rational, just arbitrary social distinctions, like Boy Scout uniforms. 

You cannot imagine the uproar women caused in the 1900's when they started dressing like men and wearing pants. Were they sinning against God? Can't we rejoice with sisters today who are not constrained by non-Christian social constructs?

Are you opposed to men wearing makeup? But aren't you aware that men, even conservative leaders in the church, if they want to appear on video, or on the big screen, need makeup. Without it they look unnatural under the the bright lights for the camera. Whether they are on a news program or preaching with a video audience in mind, they need makeup. It doesn't make them effeminate. 

I haven't even gotten to the crazier stuff  in this chapter yet, that is next, in part 13.

There are more non-rational social distinction rules. 9 You must not plant your vineyard with two kinds of seed; otherwise the entire yield, both of the seed you plant and the produce of the vineyard, will be defiled. 10 You must not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together. 11 You must not wear clothing made with wool and linen meshed together. Being defiled is a religious, not physical issue. I plant basil with tomatoes in my garden. They grow well together. The native americans taught the piligrims to grow corn and peas and squash together. And the pilgrims ate all of them. Most Americans wear clothes made of mixed materials, denim and spandex is quite common these days. But I had a Christian friend who was taught that only single material clothing was acceptable to God. His life did not go so well at the church after a while. This is in the Bible, but it's not something for Christians to literally apply to their own lives. It has no bearing on their relationship with God. 

I am not opposed to social constructs. As social creatures, these are unavoidable. What I do warn you though is calling many of these social constructs as markers of another's relationship with Jesus. Jesus tells you to watch for two markers, love of neighbor and love of himself. These are harder to distinguish than clothes or makeup or garden plantings.

Not everything Biblical is Christian.


Series review----------------------
This is part ten of the series, Not everything Biblical is ChristianPart one points out that the words of Satan recorded in the Bible are not Christian doctrine. Part two shows the Sermon on the Mount overruling the cursing of enemies exhibited in Psalm 137. Parts three and four show Moses getting overruled by Ezekiel and Jesus. Part five merely brushes the concept of source criticism.  Part six looks at the Old Testament application in the early church: a brief summary of the book of Acts. Part seven looks at how the church has worked this out regarding slavery. Part eight, showed one example of how an unchristian part of the Bible helps tell the Christian story. Part nine asks who would Jesus hate? Part 10 discusses women as Biblically approved spoils of war. Part 11 discusses divorce.

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