Last weekend my wife and I did a brief communion talk at our “new” (in COVID-adjusted terms) church, in which we touched on a few of the points I’d made in my Pit Stop post from a couple years back, surrounding this Bible passage:
Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”
He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”
– Matthew 12:9-11 (NIV)
In a nutshell, the post commented on how painful it was to watch much of white American evangelicalism’s Pharisee-like slow-motion reaction to the continued rise of online misinformation, Christian nationalism/law enforcement hagiography and the ongoing need to address systemic racism and start repenting at the institutional level.
While there’s still an incredibly long way to go, we’ve been fortunate enough to have found a group that’s at least continually taking steps in the right direction and forcing these hard conversations, which I truly appreciate.
All that being said, 2022 keeps on 2022-ing, and the pit is getting more and more crowded. Let’s peer in at two recent additions, shall we?
- Buoyed by the current Supreme Court, states are playing around with some fairly terrifying anti-abortion laws, including Missouri, which floated (and seems to now be adjusting based on blowback) restrictions for women with very likely non-viable and potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancies.
Don’t kid yourselves, these attempts will only get more and more brazen. Will evangelicals toe the party line and simply let women lose their rights and/or be forced to die, or will this be a time for a compassionate awakening and the start of real conversations about the history of abortion rights and conservative Christianity in America?
- As all sorts of restrictive laws around LGBTQ rights for minors continue to swirl around, will evangelicals be willing to open their minds (and churches, unlike this sad case) to those in the eye of the storm? Given the elevated suicide risk among these children, is it better to let them die or extend a helping hand in love?
There’s no shortage of overconfident evangelicals that will proudly quote their preferred interpretation of Bible passages as a way to whistle right past these sheep in the pit.
As for what Jesus himself would do? I have a pretty good guess, and it’s time to start loudly and publicly talking about it.