|"More preening goes on at Patheos than in the Amazon basin during Macaw mating season.."|
The Bear rarely ventures into Patheos country. While it is true he is medicated for your protection, there is not enough medication in the world to protect some of the folks he might encounter there. Like white bread David R. Henson, who is an Episcopalian priest.
His text is the well-known story from the seventh chapter of Mark.
But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.Here is how Rev. Dave explains it.
In truth, at least in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is anything but colorblind. In fact, rather than being part of the solution to ethnic prejudice, Jesus seems to be very much part of the problem, according to this story.
So what does it mean, exactly, that the Son of God, the Incarnation, the Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, utters an ethnic slur in a situation in which he held all the power? Because that is exactly what Jesus does in his exchange with the Syrophoenician woman.
When confronted with the gentile pagan in this story, he explains that his message and ministry are for Israelites only, a comment of ethnic exclusion and prejudice that calls to mind a similar refrain from a more modern time – whites only – that reverberated throughout the South not too long ago.
It wouldn’t be fair, Jesus explains, to take the banquet prepared for his people – the children, the humans – and give it to gentiles – the dogs, the less than human.You know, the Bear hesitates to even do this. The last thing he wants to do is give some joker the satisfaction of knowing he has annoyed the Bear. He's tempted to say, "Well, what do you expect of the Episcopalians?" except he is afraid they are only a more out loud and proud version of much of our own Catholic clergy. But let's think about this.
First of all, the Bear wonders what situation is there when Jesus doesn't hold all the power? But nothing about this represents serious thinking. You see, the most important thing is to be seen as the guy who cares about racism, who has the guts to call out Jesus Christ himself on racism if necessary. More preening goes on at Patheos than in the Amazon basin during Macaw mating season. Because racism has always been the chief problem in the world. Whatever else Jesus thought he was doing, He should have put it on hold and stopped racism.
Of course, Jesus was on a mission to the Jews, a little thing called being the Messiah. Of course He wasn't being racist, acting out of the local prejudice. Jesus knew he was going to help that little girl, and foreshadowed the mission to the gentiles.
Oh, and Jesus? Sinless. The Bear wouldn't lie to you.
But to hear Rev. Dave tell it, this was Jesus' Rosa Parks moment.
“But even the dogs get table scraps,” she replies, a subtle calling out of his dehumanizing language.
Jesus is astounded, the holy wind knocked out of him. A moment before, she was but a dog to him. In the next, the scales fall from his eyes as he listens to her and sees her for what she truly is, a woman of great faith.
Jesus does the most difficult thing for those of us born into prejudice and power. He listens. And allows himself to be fundamentally changed.Well, that must have been a scene, with Jesus reeling at the sudden realization of his own racism, and becoming "fundamentally changed."
Except of course, it never happened. This is what happens to a religion when it becomes about progressive causes instead of the truth.
What's some goofy Episcopalian got to do with the Catholic Church?
Hopefully nothing. But let's be careful out there, woodland creatures.