From the Introduction to my forthcoming book, Jesus, a Life (365 musings on the life of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke, with 29 black and white photographs, available from Amazon in mid-November):
“This collection is for people who deeply love Jesus, God, and the church, but it’s more purposely directed to those who’ve given up on all three because of the harm authority figures and religious institutions have inflicted on them. This is a long list that includes those who’ve been devalued, discouraged, and denounced because of their gender, their life experiences, their marital status, their ethnicity, their race, their addiction, their disability, their sexual orientation, their politics, their doubts, or their questions.”
HE WOULD HAVE KNOWN!
As the religious leader watched the woman washing Jesus’ feet, he thought to himself, “If Jesus were a true prophet, he would know the dubious character of this woman touching him. We all know she’s nothing but a sinner. Luke 7:39
The host is offended, not only with the woman who crashed his party but with Jesus, who was far too at ease with the devotion she lavished on him.
Simon the Pharisee was right about many things; this woman violated all sense of religious propriety. In touching Jesus, she caused him defilement. By letting down her hair in public, she displayed immodesty. If Jesus were a real prophet, he would have protested graciously and sent her on her way. What good is a prophet if he doesn’t recognize sin and call sinners to task when they’re exposed? Like a bloodhound on the scent, Simon knows a sinner when he smells one. The conventional wisdom of the day labels this woman a definite sinner.
The wisdom of conventional religion is nothing if not decisively clear-cut and unambiguous. Conventional wisdom of any sort doesn’t put up with loose ends. That may be why we opt for conventional wisdom more often than not.
Conventional wisdom says: The poor are lazy.
Conventional wisdom says: Not in my neighborhood.
Conventional wisdom says: God helps those who help themselves.
Conventional wisdom says: Close our borders to the south.
Conventional wisdom says: America, right or wrong.
Conventional wisdom says: We’ve got Middle East oil to protect.
Conventional wisdom says: Gays will fray the fabric of the family.
“If Jesus were a true prophet,” Simon protests, “he’d know all about conventional wisdom.” That much Simon seems to get right. Jesus is well aware of conventional wisdom, and has no use for it.
With which conventional wisdom do you agree?