Tuesday, May 25, 2010

262: The Sacred Raisin Cakes

Hosea 1-7
"The LORD said to me, 'Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.' " - Hosea 3:1

The book of Hosea marks our reentry into the same old terrible bible. It seems that Daniel was just a pleasant hiccup. We're back to God listing how terrible the Israelites have been. Back to God telling a prophet how he's going to destroy the Israelites, only to keep them alive to anger God again.

In the first chapter, God tells Hosea to go find an adulterous wife and marry her. She has a son and God tells Hosea to call him Jezreel, because he will soon destroy the Israelites at Jezreel. Hosea then has a daughter and God tells him to name her "not loved", because he isn't going to show love to the house of Israel. Hosea then has a son and god tells him to name his son "not my people". This is yet another example of God making a prophet act out his strange metaphor. What point is so important that you need to name someone "not loved"? If that's not child abuse I don't know what is.

Chapter two seems to be a metaphor. Otherwise God is just rambling. God seemingly tells Hosea to rebuke his mother, because she's not God's wife. I'm obviously missing the metaphor, or just missing the point entirely. God says that if this mother does not wipe the adulterous look off her face, he will strip her naked. This is evidence that even God likes bad "your mom" jokes. This chapter is titled "Israel Punished and Restored", you'll forgive me if I have nothing intelligent to say about it.

In the third chapter God tells Hosea to reconcile with his wife. Is God torturing him? First he has to marry an adulterer, then he's forced to reconcile with her? God says that Hosea should love his wife even though she is an adulterer, just as God loves Israel even though they worship sacred raisin cakes. Sacred raisin cakes? Knowing that, at some point, someone revered raisin cakes as holy is hilarious to me. The last sentence of Hosea 3 says that, though the Israelites will spend many years without a king, they will eventually come back to God and back to David their king. David? Isn't David long dead? Is God going to bring him back to life to lead the Israelites?

The next four chapters are long and terribly boring. Chapter four and five is God telling Israel how bad they've been. I think they know, you've only spent about five other books explaining how bad they've been. Chapter 6 and 7 are all about how Israel is unrepentant for their many sins. If I were a praying man, I would pray that there are no more chapters like this ahead of me in the bible. The blatant, pointless repetitiveness is wearing me down.

Any good feelings I had about the bible after reading Daniel are officially reversed by these first seven chapters in Hosea.

*News*
Very few stories really get me angry, this is one of them.

This article is in response to an article about a Kenyan church devoted to witnessing to the "other sheep". These "other sheep" are the twenty or so gay people that go to worship at a church that has the courage to preach love in what is surely a very homophobic country. If I were to compliment religion on accomplishing something, this church would be near the top of my list of successes.

Dorothy Kweyu will not let this compassion and humanity go uncriticized. She had the "unenviable" task of proofreading the article about the Kenyan church:
It occurred to me that as a mother and a Christian, I would be failing in my responsibilities, albeit as a layperson, if I did not express the utter horror and revulsion that was mine at reading such brazen affirmation of an evil. I can, therefore, confirm that my revision task was as “unenviable” as was the writer’s — something you do because you have no option; it’s all in a day’s work.
What responsibility do you have to condemn people that are working toward equality and humanity? Maybe you need to reexamine whatever ideal has given you this "responsibility".
In taking a position, I know just how I risk attack. As a journalist, I am somehow expected to shed my Christianity on entering the newsroom and embrace some amorphous ‘‘tolerance’’ ethos. Secondly, and most important, as a sinner, who has been saved by the grace of God, and who is deeply conscious of Jesus’ challenge to those who would throw the first stone, I also know that the same Jesus told the woman caught in the act of adultery: “Go and sin no more”.
I think Jesus' idea was for you to shut up and leave people alone (though, admittedly, I'm paraphrasing). If they are sinning so terribly, that's between them and Jesus. Judge not lest ye be judged. Especially if you are judging someone for something only a cold hearted ogre would say is a "bad thing". This is, after all, a country neighboring Uganda, who tried to pass a law making it legal to kill gay people. Maybe these people need a little more love and a little less condemnation.
I start on the premise that man and woman are complementary, and if God had a plan for homosexuals, he would have made us all male or all female. That he made us male and female testifies to the need for the other, which is why homosexuality is condemned in the Bible.
Oh, so God doesn't have a plan for everything now? This all knowing God somehow doesn't know that some people are going to turn out gay? He's somehow left a hole in his universal plan that conveniently revolves around your personal prejudices? The hypocrisy is infuriating.
What do I make of Mr Kimindu’s claim that “sexual orientation is not a choice; it is innate and there if nothing one can do about it”? For me, using that argument is as illogical as saying, ‘Leave shoplifters alone because the tendency to shoplift is genetic; it runs in families, and there’s nothing you can do about it’.
The question I always have for people with this flawed logic is, what if things were reversed? What if the bible said that only homosexuality was permitted? Would you then be able to switch to being attracted to women? Many people respond by saying that they would be abstinent in that case. But I think we all know that's bullshit.
Mr Kimindu made a sad but true revelation: that some men who worship in his church are married to conceal their homosexuality. “They use marriage as a cover-up, but keep male concubines who are more pampered than their wives.” For those who don’t know it, that kind of relationship is one of the main drivers of HIV and Aids — because anal sex poses the greatest risk of acquiring the deadly virus.
There is so much wrong with this I don't even know where to begin. First, men having wives as cover ups is a symptom of people like this woman condemning them for who they truly are. If there weren't crazy bigots, there would be no need to fake straightness. Furthermore, the spread of HIV in Africa is a symptom of lax sex education and condoms being unavailable. One of the reasons for condoms being unavailable is the pope saying how terrible they are. This, for once, isn't bigotry coming from the church, but it's just plain stupid.
That means that whether you are a Christian or not, homosexuality still exposes you to a higher risk of infection with HIV. Therefore, even professed atheists should be afraid — very afraid of the emerging acceptance of homosexuality under the guise of tolerance.
Afraid of what? If you're not gay, don't have gay sex. Acceptance doesn't mean we all go out and have gay sex and we all have a higher risk of HIV. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. The fear of bigots that contribute to the world's problems and strive to hold the world in the dark ages.

If you don't like gay people, don't be gay. Keep your bigotry to yourself.

2 comments:

  1. I wonder if they include Lo-Ruhamah and Lo-Ammi in books of Christian names for babies.

    "If I were a praying man, I would pray that there are no more chapters like this ahead of me in the bible."
    Unfortunately, God is going to answer this prayer with a "No."

    Only 2 weeks to the NT.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wouldn't you rather worship a nice raisin cake than a dry cracker?

    ReplyDelete

 

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