Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Andrew Sullivan on the Christ and Family Values

And yet, when you read the Gospels, you find something very strange. Jesus barely mentions marriage. He never married. He demanded of all his disciples that they abandon their own families and wives, without even saying goodbye. He was openly contemptuous toward his own mother and father in adolescence and early adulthood. His fundamental response to adultery was forgiveness of the adulterer and suspicion of the morally superior. His contemporaries must have regarded him as illegitimate, since he was conceived out of wedlock. So this illegitimate, single man who broke up family after family, whose closest female friend was a childless former prostitute, who scandalously stayed alone in the home of two unmarried women, who offended every family value of the time ... has been turned into the chief architect of "family values!"

How you like them apples?


Anonymous said...

Actually, Jesus's first miracle was turning water into wine at a the marriage in Cana. Traditionally, this is taken at least by the Eastern Orthodox Church as a big vindication of marriage.

Everyone wants Jesus to agree with them so they always drop out the parts of Jesus that they don't like. I going to assume Andrew will drop out the parts of Jesus teaching where he indicates that Jewish Law is important. That pesky part in Leviticus!

If you think Jesus is approving of your life style, you really don't know Jesus.



nccardfan said...

Andrew's theology is "flexible" on a number of counts. Conveniently enough for him.

If the GOP and the Roman Catholic Church would only endorse gay marriage, you'd see him revert to orthodoxy on several issues.

There's a word for that, I think...

Aaron said...

When critics of the Church start reminding the faithful about the "teachings of Jesus" I tend to reach for my wallet. See e.g. Howard Dean.

arrScott said...

Magpie alert: Much of the text you quote is a direct paraphrase of a segment from Julia Sweeney's half-hour appearance on NPR's This American Life this weekend, itself excerpted from Sweeney's one-woman show, Letting Go of God.

Which doesn't make Sullivan wrong here, just unoriginal.

gregw said...

So since when has Andrew Sullivan been considered a theologian of any standing?

bettiwettiwoo said...

Joseph and Mary were betrothed. Children born to betrothed couples were considered legitimate (as opposed to, for instance, children born to people who were 'merely' engaged to be married; a betrothal was considered 'stronger' than such an engagement). Therefore, Jesus would not have been considered illegitimate. At least not by his contemporaries.

Patrick Allen+ said...

The Catholic Church to which Mr. Sullivan gives dubious allegiance has been reading and reflecting on the gospels for two thousand years now; one would think Mr. Sullivan would consider some of that reflection rather than acting as if he were the first ever to read them.

Liz said...

My interpreation of Jesus asking his disciples to follow him first and foremost and without question is symbolic of His asking all of us to do the same. We are asked to put aside all worldly considerations and put G*d first in our lives - regardless of the consequences. Is it, perhaps, something of a test for Christians and their true willingness to turn their lives over to Christ?

Anonymous said...

Sullivan has been afforded quite a bit of slack because of his tenacious pre-war support of Iraq intervention. He should always be credited for this.

But, as Dwight Yoakam once sang (in "Things Change"): "I may be slow, but I ain't blind."

Stated another way: He is seemingly ignorant of a large minority of gay activists who expicitly discuss gay marriage as the first stage of the legal destruction of traditional marriage in favor of a version of corporate/partnership arrangements, and:

His unrealistic standards for the treatment of non-uniformed enemy combatants. Beating and killing prisoners aside, his faith in the "evidence" of anti-Bush organizations and ex-prisoners who cry "abuse" is astonishing.

Jason O.

Lawjedi said...

This is stupid. He went to Peter's house and healed Peter's Mother in law (which makes one wonder if that was truly a blessing...), but history reflects that Peter and his wife were martyred together, just days apart.

Jesus also told the adulteresses, both the one "caught" where Jesus told the leaders to cast the first stone if they were innocent, and the one at the well with a history of loose relations with men, to stop sinning.

I could go on forever, but it seems Sullivan is looking to turn Christ into Charlie McCarthy.

Shame to see him fall like this.

Anonymous said...

The New Testament isn't a treatise on all the personal doings of Jesus. How much of Jesus' short life are actually accounted for in the bible? Very, very little. The passages of his life that are included are there for their broader applications to a variety of human conditions beyond the simple, literal actions of the moment recorded. Has anyone explained the concept of parables to Mr. Sullivan? If you had a full, literal accounting of His life, I'm sure you'd have endless chapters on chores in the carpentry shop, getting water for his mother, etc. etc. etc. Jesus' purpose wasn't to raise a family and punch in and out at the factory for 60 years, then call it good. He had a lot of work to do in a short period of time, selfless work.

Anonymous said...

I dont get search enines you ask a specific question and they give a load of rubbish does any1 no who andrew's family were?