Why Does it matter?
Just Let it Go?
Shake the dust of your feet and Go!
I say No
The question on my lips is why do the wicked prosper? Why is it that a small punitive and angry God is more popular than a God of Love.
My aim is to explore this question – Like a cow chewing the cud, it is a question that keeps coming up.
My starting point is this – Martin Luther talked a lot about the Bondage of the Will – the theory is that man is led by a rider and has only one place to go, and that is in the direction of the one pulling the reins. For this reason I think it does matter what we believe. Why do we go in one direction and not the other?
I will start with the word disgust.
Disgust is universal – the same expression to a yucky meal is not imitated or learned – it is in our flesh, it is carnal. The same muscles are used whether you are born in Scandinavia or in deepest Africa.
I have used the biblical words flesh and carnal because I think when we hear about carnal and fleshy desires we automatically think about hot adulterous sex or red light porn. I think flesh is a much broader word.
Disgust at the thought of certain foods is part of our flesh, it is a response that bypasses the brain and conscious thought.
It is OK to feel disgusted when eating food that has the color and texture of poo, but as Luther hints at – we need to know who is pulling the reins. (is it our carnal flesh?)
Although the expressions of the face are not learned, what we are disgusted at is learned. (Yummy cockroaches and Black Pudding, dog meat), It is a response we as humans have learned to keep us safe from foods that will kill us. It is a good thing, however very cultural.
Disgust does not stop with foods – I think the term is Socio-moral disgust. Disgust is involved in our feelings of what is morally right and wrong.
This is vitally important for religious people to be aware of. The Pharisees were disgusted with Jesus’ association with the “out group”. Just like food gets infected, the blind, the lame, the poor and outcast threatened the safety of the “in group”. I imagine the facial expression of the religious as a woman of bad repute came to Jesus as they were reclining at the table. The person may as well have been poo.
And that is the challenge – listen to the feelings of disgust and outrage we may feel when talking about Moral and ethical issues. Too often it is the flesh that reacts, bypassing the brain,
and people, the very ones that Jesus loved, are excluded.
But the “BIBLE CLEARLY SAYS” is often a carnal response from a feeling of socio – moral disgust. Not from the Holy Spirit or from reason.
I have been purposely brief, hopefully not too brief. I recommend a book by Richard Beck called “Unclean” to anyone interested in reading further about the psychology of disgust and how it potentially harms the mission of the Church.
A poem about the rider can be found here