"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free." - Ephesians 6:5-8
The entirety of chapter 4 and the first paragraph of chapter 5 is Paul reiterating how everyone in the church is part of the body of Christ. Paul explains how we should treat each other with love and respect. He also says that we should not be angry at each other and we should forgive each other on all matters.
He ends this all by again reiterating that we should be like Jesus and live a life of love and forgiveness. Wow, a nice message from Paul? Maybe he's really going to start following the basic message of Jesus. Oh, wait, keep reading:
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.
Love everyone, and forgive all their transgressions. But get them the hell away from you if they're ever immoral, greedy, sexually impure, or in any other way "disobedient" to God. I don't know how you can possibly follow all the commands of Paul without your brain falling out of your head. How can everyone love each other and be part of one "body" if we're commanded to constantly reject anyone that sins (which is everyone, by the bible's definition)?
Paul then goes on a long rant about submission. First, as he's said before, wives should submit to their husbands. He says that as the church submits to Christ, wives should submit to their husbands in "everything".
Is this even what Christian marriage counselors are saying these days? I must ashamedly admit that I've seen the movie "Fireproof". This was about a couple that saved their marriage with the help of the bible. The entire movie was the husband (played by Kirk Cameron) attempting to win his wife back by doing a bunch of things for her. How is this biblical? Shouldn't Kirk Cameron have just told his wife to get back in the kitchen? That's Paul's version of marriage.
Next Paul says that children should submit to their parents. He quotes the Old Testament to back this up. Wait a minute, I thought if you were a follower of Jesus, Old Testament law didn't apply anymore. Why is he quoting this law that he now claims is defunct?
The final form of submission is the submission of a slave to his master. I know it's the quote of the day, but I'm quoting it again:
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
First of all, are we slaves to Christ or not? It was only two days ago (Galatians 5) that Paul was claiming that we were all set free through Jesus. Now he's saying the exact opposite. Second, I'd love to see the mental gymnastics someone has to do to get out of this clear endorsement of slavery by Paul. Paul doesn't just mention that slavery exists, he tells the slaves how throughly they should obey. If this isn't endorsement I don't know what is.
How can any self respecting modern Christian not rip any mention of Paul out of their bible. Jesus I can live with, Paul I cannot. Paul who not only encourages but demands the servitude of women, endorses slavery, and endorses throwing sinners out of the church. How can almost all Christians accept that most of these teachings are bullshit, yet still desperately cling to Paul's abolition of homosexuality, and all the other ridiculous things he talks about? Any quote from the writings of Paul needs to come with a bright red disclaimer "written by the bigoted chauvinist douchebag Paul".
Paul ends the chapter by telling us to put on our metaphorical armor against the world run by the devil. This includes: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of readiness, the shield of faith, the sword of the spirit, and the helmet of salvation. You'll then be ready to go fight in the crusades, I suppose.
Ephesians: In Review
Paul has really run out of new ideas now. I guess I should stop complaining about this, because it looks like there are still several more letters to go (written by Paul), and I can't imagine they're going to me any more original.
I really don't have anything to say here that hasn't been said in the other letter reviews (largely because Paul really didn't say anything new).
Rifqa Bary, a convert from Islam to Christianity, has been in the news a lot in the past year. In July 2009, she ran away from her Muslim parents, accusing her father of threatening to kill her for her conversion.
She then became a ward of the state and a lengthy legal battle ensued, her parents trying to get her back, and her attorneys trying to keep her a ward of the state. Neither side could find evidence (besides Rifqa's testimony) that he father had ever actually threatened her, though I don't find it terribly unlikely. In any case, this has been great fodder for a number of Christian blogs.
She has since turned 18, thus ending the legal battle. But there is new news:
Christian convert Rifqa Bary is refusing chemotherapy for cancer because she believes that she was cured at a faith-healing event, according to a motion in Franklin County Juvenile Court.
Doctors had scheduled her for a year of chemotherapy. In the words of Christopher Hitchens, "religion poisons everything". First religion threatened to kill her for disobedience, now religion is sealing her fate by convincing her that she is cured.
To add icing on this shit-cake, some blogs are saying that because she is an "illegal immigrant", she should be immediately deported. Can't anyone help this woman? Convince her that treatment is necessary, stop trying to deport her, maybe even start treating her like a human being instead of using her to try to prop up your "Christian warrior" image.
(via The Columbus Dispatch)