“God said it; I believe it” is the conservative Christian’s credo. And it’s an understandable one. It’s easy enough to deride Christian conservatives for taking the Bible too literally — but believing words is, after all, what we all most readily do with them. Especially if we think those words come from God. Talk about your well placed source.
Oh, sure, it’s Paul rather than Jesus who in the Bible says anything at all about homosexuality — but (for now) we can put that aside. The fact remains that the language in the Bible that condemns homosexuality (or at least the way that language is most typically translated into English — but can we please stop quibbling?) is unequivocal. Its forceful clarity simply leaves no room for debate about its meaning.
And again: fair enough. Christians look to the Bible — and particularly, of course, to the New Testament — for direction from God on how they should live, and in what they should believe. And they try to make their lives worthy of what they find there. That’s not a dynamic anyone should too readily scoff at. Cliche or not, it is a large part of what built America.
But here’s my question: If you’re going to look to the Bible and words of Jesus for critical input on how to live your life, then don’t you need to very assiduously attend to the actual words of Jesus? Especially when he’s perfectly clear on a particular issue (which, let’s face it, doesn’t happen nearly as often as Christians are wont to pretend it does), right? If you’re trying to live your life in obedience to Christ, then you’re all about anything Christ actually says, right?Christ said it; you believe it. If you’re a Christian, that’s your deal. And if you’re a conservative Christian, then you most certainly look to Jesus for guidance about anything in your life that’s of particular importance to you.
Like, for instance, money. Talk about your core life issue, right? Who doesn’t care about money?
Here is what God incarnate, Jesus the Christ, said about money:
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.” (Luke 12:33)
“You cannot serve God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19)
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25)
If anywhere in the Bible Jesus is more clear about anything than he is about money, I’d like to learn of that thing. Talk about slamming shut the door on the wiggle room. And that’s not the mortal Paul giving financial advice, either. That’s Jesus. That’s the very God of Gods, being as clear as language allows him to be.
I don’t see how it’s possible to avoid the conclusion that there is something very definitely wrong with any Christian who is not himself as poor as the proverbial church mouse pointing to the Bible as grounds for his condemnation of gays and lesbians. How can any self-respecting Christian take literally what Paul said about homosexuality, and at the same time ignore or seriously waffle on what Jesus Christ himself said about money?