In Isaiah 44 we have a description of a carpenter making an Idol. In spite of the tragedy of Israel turning her back on God in order to worship false gods, there is considerable humour as Isaiah describes a man reverently bowing before the Idol made for the same tree that was used to provide fuel to cook a meal.
“No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
Whilst most of us would never bow down to a piece of wood, perhaps our own idolatry is just as ridiculous. In an article in the Guardian this week, thanks to Lindsey Capper for highlighting this on Facebook, (read it here) entitled; “One Jesus for liberals, another for conservatives” we read of research in the US on the views of ‘Christians’ from the two major political parties. The article sates;
“Christian Republicans imagined a Jesus who tended to be against wealth redistribution, illegal immigrants, abortion and same-sex marriage; whereas the Jesus of Democrat-voting Christians would have had far more liberal opinions. The Bible may claim that God created man in his own image, but the study suggests man creates God in his own image.”
The differences may not be as marked in the UK or for that matter as ‘Christian’ but we still manage to have politicians deciding for us which parts of scripture are more important;
“Christ devotes much of his teaching to this theme, building on the Old Testament injunction that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged”, and “Do to others as you would have them do to you”, are two of his most powerful, and enduring, messages about how individuals, local communities, and whole societies, should live peacefully, and happily, with others.
Given the key importance of these ideas to Christianity, why are some church leaders – in the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches in particular – not practicing what Christ taught, on the issue of people’s sexuality?”
Thanks to former Home Secretary Jack Straw for that insight (which can be read here).
The simple point is that the Bible teaches a need for justice and fairness in our society whilst simultaneously setting out very clear lines in the area of sexual morality. This may be uncomfortable and inconvenient for us but what is the point of calling Jesus ‘Lord’, if we are actually ignoring what he said. We might as well reach for the chisel and start carving out our own versions of him.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)