As the politicians and their campaign teams search deep into the backgrounds, comments, associates and unrehearsed gaffes of their opponents, I can’t help but wonder, could God stand up to the scrutiny of a political campaign?" What if instead of seeking the big picture, we decided to define God by the worst sound bytes we could find?
Would we use I AM WHO I AM - or maybe the equivalent I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE and I WILL BE WHAT THE FUTURE REQUIRES? Or would we use something from this week's "Make me sick to my stomach" reading from Exodus 12:1-14?
I know that Passover, a commemoration of huge importance in Judaism and Christianity, is about the deliverance of the Hebrew people out of bondage in Egypt. But right there near the end, the description of God saying, “I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt.” Sounds like a sound byte any person who wants to paint God as something horrible would jump at the chance to use. Can you imagine a Youtube clip of God spouting threats of murder of every firstborn in Egypt? What candidate would want to be associated with that? Can you imagine the reports that would say a particular candidate wasn’t ‘thoroughly vetted’ and now the nastiness was going to come out?
Sure, it’s possible to explain this week's reading this way:
The people who experienced the events and the ones who put together the Bible thought of the evil of slavery in Egypt in very personal terms. And the only way they could understand combating that evil was to experience God bringing judgment on the evil society.
But I have great trouble separating a cultural understanding of the violence from the writers’ standpoint with my belief that killing, murder, war. . . slaughter in the name of religion can never be excused. . . Never. Never. Never.