“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

"Pulled up by the roots"

From my journal, 7/6 in Ukraine (we were in Lutsk at that time)

I have often quoted the sections from Mark 7. In particular, verses 6,7,8,9 & 13. In a nutshell, "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding onto the traditions of men." As I was sitting here, I asked God if he would give me a new insight, and as he always does, he did.

The same basic story is in Matthew 15:1-20 but with some interesting differences.
v3. "Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?"
v11. "what goes into a man's mouth does not make him "unclean" but what comes out of his mouth that is what makes him "unclean"
v13 Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots...They are blind guides, leave them.
v18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart and these make a man "unclean"
v19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man "unclean"

In v11, we learn that what comes out of his mouth...probably also his actions, what he does makes him unclean. Rejection implies a lack of love which might be considered a form of "uncleanness."
V13 is amazing! It implies drastic action and is actually violent. Pulling a plant out by its roots implies removing any trace of it so it can never grow back. Like pulling up the weeds in your garden. You don't just cut off the top, you pull up the whole thing so there is no trace of it and it will never grow back.

Jesus also does this with healing on the Sabbath, and clearing out the money changers. He confronts these wrong traditions head on and unapologetically. This is seen in the disciples' response, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?" But jesus does not relent. "Leave them they are blind guides." Wow, blind guides. "If a blind man leads a blind man both will fall into a pit" (v14).

And what is "corban," the original focus of this passage? It is an excuse for not doing what I should be doing towards other people (parents in this case).

So lets pull this rambling all together. The Pharisees' traditions had morphed into practices that were contrary to the commands of God. In actually corban was a way to get out of obligations to parents that the children were to follow. But in ways that were perceived as "benefitting" the church, the traditions were developed and passed on. Jesus comes along, and says tradition that contradicts the commands of God are going to be pulled up like weeds at the roots so that there will be no trace of them. He also said that the religious leaders were blind guides, leading others to fall into a pit (along with themselves). When Jesus confronted them they were offended but he didn't care. He actually said that they did a lot of things like that (meaning traditions over the commands of God). Church leaders can say nice things, like God loves us all the same, or we are all equal at the foot of the cross, but the things that come out of me (even if my words are nice) in the form of the actions of the church and its leaders are the things that make them unclean. People with disabilities are not embraced to the degree they should be by the church and its agents. Therefore, by the teaching provided above, they are unclean in the discrimination that is coming out of them.


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