Monday, August 19, 2013

Theological Footnote: Tables Not Set for Everyone Aren't the Lord's Table

To tie my two postings of this morning (here and here) together with brief, pointed theological commentary:

Nothing at all in the gospels suggests to me that Jesus shares Edward Hu's focus or the focus of Steve's ultra-Catholic family members on the morality of sexual acts.

Sexual morality is nowhere near the center of Jesus's moral concern. He appears hardly to have had any interest in the topic.

His overriding concern was with relationships and the quality of human relationships. Matthew 25 is a sermon about how we will be judged according to whether or not we recognize our connection to other human beings in an interconnected world, and act on that connection. Not a peep about being judged on the basis of our sexual acts in that sermon . . . . .

Not only do the gospels suggest a constant overriding concern on Jesus's part with the quality of relationships, they also suggest his intent concern to subvert the preconceptions that some people have about human relationships. In particular, Jesus was constantly concerned to subvert the pretensions some of us have to a "natural" superiority over others--a superiority based on social or economic status, national origins, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

What Edward Hu and Steve's family members seek to communicate to those they regard as inferior to themselves--because those people are homosexual and not heterosexual--is that their "natural" superiority has a divine seal of approval. The gospels suggest that Jesus was constantly working to subvert the idea that God grants such divine seals of approval for the "natural" superiority of anyone choosing to dominate others.

His invitation of everyone to his table is a demonstration of another dynamic emanating from the heart of God, one that provides a place at the table to those the "naturally" superior intend to exclude--and this is ultimately what Edward Hu and Steve's family are all about: shoving some of us from a table they regard as exclusively their table, while pretending their table is the Lord's table. In fact, Jesus's invitation of everyone to his table is an invitation that provides a privileged place at the Lord's table for those judged to be inferior by the "superior" and shoved by the superior from their table . . . . 

Tables not set for everyone aren't the Lord's table.

On the graphic, which is a painting by Oregon artist Margaret Puckette, and its history, please see this previous posting.

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