No shirt, no shoes …

pizza sliceThen said the woman of Samaria to him, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

John 4:9

Christians have been in the news an awful lot lately, linked with the concept of refusing service to folks simply because of their espoused sexual preference.

I’m not going to discuss the ramifications of certain legislation that’s been approved recently, including here in my home state of Arkansas. That’s a complex subject for a different time. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and all that is a discussion I’ll take up one of these days, but not here and not now.

But an offshoot of the furor around that legislation has manifested in instances where some Christians have gone public with the idea that they can, and should, decline to serve some folks, in one case a hunk of pizza, another truck repair, because the person wanting said pizza or his transmission fixed, is homosexual.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that being homosexual is a sin. Stop, stop, stop, I’m not going to delve into issues of sexual sin here, that’s a whole other can of worms. Stick with me, I have a point.

So, what we have is Christians saying, in a nutshell, “I’m not going to serve you a pizza, perhaps with a nice salad, or fix your truck, maybe make it even more manly (Look at the size of those tires!), because you, dear customer, are a sinner.”

Do you see how messed up that is?

The whole Old Testament and the whole New Testament screams to the world that they need a savior and points to who that Savior is. We are all sinners. We are all in need of grace. We all need Jesus. That’s the whole point of Christianity.

Now, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that homosexuality, on its base, is not a sin. That those passages in the Bible that reference it are indeed being taken out of context, that they speak to specific sexual sin that isn’t what we understand modern homosexuality to be.

Guess what, that guy or gal who wants a slice of pepperoni or who needs his or her tires rotated is still a sinner. So is the next personĀ  in line, and the next and the next and the next. And you, dear owner of the pizza place and you dear proprietor of the garage, you are sinners too.

When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well he was breaking social taboos left and right. Jews didn’t speak to Samaritans, men didn’t speak to women without their husbands present and so on and so on and so on. Jesus didn’t care. Instead, Jesus, after asking her for a drink, told her who he really was. He looked right at her and while he did mention her transgressions, he also promised her eternal life and she in turn recognized him as the Messiah. Not only that, she ran out to tell all her people about Jesus.

It’s a fascinating account. It runs from John 4:4 through John 4:44. Check it out.

Somehow, though, I don’t think this exchange and all the good things that happened afterward with the Samaritans, would have happened if Jesus had refused to speak to the woman at the well.

What we see, in this sort of extreme reaction by some folks to this legislation, besides rampant fear, is a failure to understand some core elements of Christianity.

Folks who say they are followers of Christ, who choose to take a line or two from the Bible and follow that, rather than the overarching message of the entire book, or better yet, they choose to follow a line or two of the Bible, rather than the example of the one who the whole book points to, are missing the point.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. That’s why Jesus came. That’s why we need him.

The line starts over here. I’ll be the scruffy looking guy in the front. Anybody wanna order pizza?

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