Monday, January 19, 2009

Rather a Demon

From Touchstone's MereComments:

We began reading Genesis on January 1, so today I read chapter 19, entitled in my Oxford Press edition of the RSV as "The Depravity of Sodom." You all know the story, but the familiar verse that jumped off the page is the response of the men of Sodom to Lot's refusal to hand over the two men staying at his house for sodomizing. Lot, begging them not to "act so wickedly," is then threatened: "This fellow came to sojourn, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them."
The response seems straight out of modern times: "How dare you judge us!"

From the Epistle I would have appreciated reading a robust section of one of Paul's letters, such as Ephesians 6:10, putting on the armor of God, or maybe one of those rich Christological sections from Hebrews, but we just finished reading that epistle before starting Romans. But Romans 1:18-32, on the unnatural vices, where we happen to be in our sequential readings, read alongside Genesis 19 seems planned.

The Gospel, also in sequence, is Matthew 8:28-34, the Gadarene Demoniac story. What has it to do with Genesis 19 and Romans 1? After reading the first two, I was struck by the insanity in verse 34: in Mark's version, I knew, we find a former demoniac "clothed and in his right mind," and I assume so here as well. The response of the people? "All the city (like "all the men of Sodom"?) came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw, him, they begged him to leave."

So, they apparently could live with a demoniac or two, but the healing of Jesus was just too much to bear. We have to pray hard that people will want to be released from the mystery of iniquity. Look at the vehemence aimed at those who claim to have escaped the dead end of sodomy, and at those who help them to do so. Losing a bit of their economy, a herd of swine, in the process, probably didn't help. But wouldn't you be happy to be rid of demonic influences in your society, even if it cost something? Not these people.
(read it here)

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