Sunday, April 3, 2011

Taking Liberties: John 9 Updated

Some may think this heretical, but as I listened to the Gospel reading this morning, I had this nagging desire to rework this story to be more reflective of what I know to be true today. In the 21st Century, there aren't many people or places that believe that a person born blind is blind because of a sin committed either by the person herself or the parents. But there are still many who profess to be Christian who think that to be gay is a sin. Some have "evolved" to a place of saying that gay people are allowed to identify as gay; just don't do anything that might be considered "gay" (i.e. have same-sex relations). That would be icky.

Anyway, I have taken the liberty to rework the story of the blind man given his sight to instead be the gay man who was given the dignity to be his true self. I think this reframing of John's gospel gives a modernized understanding of Jesus' lesson here. And so with that, "The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John... with a re-edit by Susan" (Oh, go ahead: "Glory be to you Lord Christ....)

John 9: 1 - 41
As he walked along, he saw a man gay from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born gay?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born gay so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's mouth, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Silo'am" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and he came out and proclaimed his true self.

The neighbors and those who had seen him before, and assumed he was straight, began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and be quiet?" Some were saying, "It is he." Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him." He kept saying, "I am the man." But they kept asking him, "Then how are you now so openly gay?" He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my mouth, and said to me, "Go to Silo'am and wash.' Then I went and washed and came out and became who I am and have been since birth." They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know."

They brought to the Preachers the man who had come out. Now it was a Sunday morning when Jesus made the mud and opened his mouth to proclaim his true self. Then the Preachers also began to ask him how he came out. He said to them, "He put mud on my mouth. Then I washed, and now I am out." Some of the Preachers said, "This man is not from God, for he does not attend Sunday church." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And they were divided. So they said again to the gay man, "What do you say about him? It was he who encouraged you to come out." He said, "He is a prophet."

The “Christians” did not believe that he was really gay and thought he could be changed until they called the parents of the man who had come out and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born gay? Why has he come out?" His parents answered, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born gay; but we do not know how it is that now he has come out, nor do we know who opened his mouth to allow him to proclaim his true self. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself." His parents said this because they were afraid of the “Christians”; for the “Christians” had already agreed that anyone who comes out would be put out of their church. Therefore his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."

So for the second time they called the man who had come out, and they said to him, "Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner." He answered, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was once quiet and in the closet, now I am out and am not ashamed." They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he tell you this is OK?" He answered them, "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become gay?" Then they reviled him, saying, "You are gay, but we are heterosexual. We know that God has spoken to us, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from." The man answered, "Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my mouth to allow me to proclaim my true self. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the Victorian era has it been heard that anyone opened the mouth of a person born gay in this way. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." They answered him, "You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?" And they drove him out of their church.

Jesus heard that they had driven him out of their church, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" He answered, "And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him." Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he." He said, "Lord, I believe." And he worshiped him. Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment so that those who are gay, and those who judge them may be judged." Some of the Preachers near him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not being judged, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were gay, you would not have sin. But now that you say, "We are heterosexual and we exercise judgement,' your sin remains.

(This post updated at 10:20pm with some suggested changes.)


Anonymous said...

Good job and you have done a great thing by rewriting this.


Phoebe said...

Perhaps the comment Jesus makes near the end of this passage might be clearer if it read...

"Jesus said, 'I came int the world to judge those who judge and condemn them."