June 12, 2011: Bad Boys & Bad Girls of the Bible

Posted on : Jun 9th, 2011 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Beginning this Sunday, Kobie and I will be preaching a fun series of sermons during June and July (on the Sundays when we are not having UCC Discernment experiences) called “Bad Boys and Bad Girls of the Bible – and the Gifts of Faith They Have Given Us.”

It’s kind of a “reality-show version of the Bible” but the truth is, the Bible is full of stories of less than stellar characters!  There are a lot of “Bad Boyz and Bad Gurls” in the Bible, and they give us wonderful gifts of faith.   What’s more amazing and assuring for those of us who are “less-than-perfect Christians” is that God, yes God, is able to use us and our lives for good.

This Sunday we’re going to begin with an all-time favorite, one that is especially fitting for GLBT Pride Sunday.  That is the story of the woman accused of adultery.  From this story comes one of the most-quoted verses in scripture.  It’s the story where Jesus says: “Let the one who is without sin cast (throw) the first stone” and of course Jesus’ concluding words to the story: “Neither do I condemn you.”

With all the scandalous news surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sexting, this is a timely story.  For much of history, and certainly during all of biblical history, adultery and prostitution were defined as “a woman’s problem.”  Women were considered the seducers and women were almost always more harshly judged as “bad” then men.  Such is the case in this story in the Gospel of John.  But where’s the man?  Why is it the woman who is labeled “bad” and not the man?  It does take two, as we know.

Actually, what we’ve seen in the last years, now that we live in the digitally “trace-able” age, is that MEN seem to be the ones that are the “bad boys” more often than women.  But it takes a twitter posting or two to prove it!  Case in point:  Anthony Weiner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, John Edwards, Larry Craig, Bishop Eddy Long, Ted Haggard, Bill Clinton…just to name a few.

There is a hidden truth in this story about a woman accused of adultery that is not often told, but is central to the way Jesus responds to the woman.  Once we discover it, it will open us to grace in a much more profound way than a conversation about “throwing stones.”

Blessings to you during this weekend of Pride!


This Sunday’s Scripture

John 8: 2 – 11

Jesus defends a woman who has been accused of adultery

[from WomanWord]

At daybreak,

Jesus returned to the Temple.

People crowded around him

as he began to teach.

The scribes and Pharisees

dragged a woman

into the presence of Jesus,

and in full view of everyone,

made this accusation.

“Rabbi,” they said,

“this woman here

has been caught in the act

of adultery.

The Law commands we condemn her

to death.

The Law says

we should stone her.

Tell us,

what do you say?”

Now this was a test,

for they were seeking something

to use against him.

But Jesus ignored their question,

and with the tip of his finger,

started scribbling on the ground.

They persisted until

he broke his silence.

Looking up, he said:

“Let the one among you

who has not sinned

be the first to throw a stone.”

Then bending down,

he scribbled some more,

as one by one,

those who condemned her

silently slipped away.

Jesus was alone with the woman.

“Where have they gone?”

he asked her.

“Tell me, has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she answered.

“And neither do I,” said Jesus.

“Go now and sin no more.”