Saturday, July 30, 2005

Screaming Against Injustice

There is a strange verse in the Bible.

Actually there are lots of strange verses in the Bible, but this one comes to mind today -- Deuteronomy 22:24. It is one of the many Old Testament laws Christians find it best to ignore. If a woman is raped in the country -- she's innocent. If the rape happens in the town, then you asume she did not scream -- so you kill them both.

Any of my colleagues in ministry preaching on that verse this week?

This year?

This lifetime?

I've often wondered about that text. It goes against everything we tell women about what to do in a rape situation.

What can this verse teach us?

It occurs to me that this verse has very little to with rape.

It has to do with injustice.

We should scream.

We should scream when injustice happens to other people -- and we should also scream when injustice happens to us.

Perhaps I should have screamed yesterday, but instead I was silent.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I so appreciate your honesty before God and the whole bloomin' world. Since I began attending a PCUSA church five years ago, I've been running across a bunch of phenomenal Presbyterian pastors. Count yourself one of the lot.

I'm very sorry for the loss of your father. I have been "orphaned" since 11-03 when my mom passed away, and some days the bereavement still feels very fresh. You also lost something in this episode with your son. Grief all around.

There's another pastoral blogger in S. Florida I think you might be interested in reading:
http://latinaliz.typepad.com.

May Jesus be present with/in you, your family and your church.

Dana Ames
Ukiah, CA
(2 hrs N. of SF,
30 mi E. of the Pacific)

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what do you tell women to do in a rape situation?

8:01 AM  
Blogger Apostle John said...

Survive -- whatever it takes.

I sure wouldn't stone her!

8:17 AM  
Blogger the reverend mommy said...

I've been told by my OT profs that this is why all prostitution occurs outside the city walls -- she can claim she was raped.

Interesting how things just become all twisted around.

12:30 PM  
Blogger sabbath day's journey said...

Thanks for your visit to my blog...you've got a pretty great place here yourself!

God's blessings,
Michele

9:34 PM  
Blogger latinaliz said...

Wow. So glad Dana introduced me to you. So happy to read your thoughts on issues such as these.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Jenni said...

Thanks for your comments on this verse. I believe you are correct, we need to be screaming at injustice. Even if it isn't happening to us, we need to scream for those who have no voice.

2:23 AM  
Blogger WES ELLIS said...

this is a great post, I have skimmed past this verse too many times without thinking about it. There's lot's of injustice, we should scream but not always outloud. May our actions scream the loudest.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Blog visitor said...

The verse makes sense as is. If the woman is taken in the country and claims no one could hear her cries for help then she should not be stoned. But if she is engaged, has sex with another, the forced claim (according to the OT) only comes into play if she cries out. If she doesn't, she's seen as participating in an act the OT deems worthy of death.

Ask yourself why such a verse seems "strange." Perhaps because we've become accustomed to foisting our own conceptions on it them rather than letting it shape those very conceptions.

If such verses seems strange to us, I would venture that God would also seem strange to us should we meet God.

9:25 PM  
Blogger the perkins(es) said...

As always, such important questions to remember to ask. Thank you. Scream against injustice, amen.

4:45 PM  

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