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7/05/2006

GETTING THE WIDOW WRONG

The Anabaptist over at Leaving Munster reads SHLOG. In fact, he noticed when I posted a link to his article on jubilee recently, and he followed the discussion that took place here afterwards.

Seems some folks ere and elsewhere have been using the story of the widow's mite in the bible to argue against his take on tithing (which was only part of his original post on jubilee I referred to). His response to the widow argument and his explanation of the widow's story is fascinating and well worth reading.

Basically what you and I grew up learning in Sunday School somewhere about how the widow who had so little was praised by Jesus for giving so much might not be true after all. The Anabaptist says, "what is clear is that the passage is not about a very generous poor person." Find out what he thinks it IS about at Leaving Munster. And visit him often to learn from the very smart folks hanging out over there.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That interpretation seems...strained.

In order for his thesis to work, Jesus can't be praising her for what she's doing. But Jesus is praising her.

Ironically, the very link he (and you) use for the text includes the footnote about how Jesus IS clearly praising her for what she's doing.

I'm not a "tithe rule" guy, either. But Jesus had ample opportunity to advise the poor not to be generous, and we have no record that He did. Zip. To try to make this particular story fit that narrative seems to take a fair bit of twisting.

Best,
Brant

7/05/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I linked to the text he did for that very reason. On that very page he linked to for the text was wording contradicting his analysis of it. Interesting. Still reading personally.

SG

7/05/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giving is only wrong if we give for the wrong motives. I believe if the act of giving if given in the right context (from the heart) it is never wrong. God blesses the giver regardless because he knows their heart. This Leaving Munster person needs to quit psycho-analyzing everything. Why do people tend to make the Bible into some kind of complex text book. The message of Christ is simple, God created man, man brought sin into the world, God destroyed all the people of the earth because they were sinful and beyond repair, the earth was repopulated, a whole bunch of sacrifices were made by man for atonement of his sins, but, they weren't enough to cover man's sin so God sent his own sacrifice for us once and for all. Accept Christ and live or don't accept him and suffer the consequences. Anything beyond that just complicates things but, what do I know?

7/05/2006  
Blogger graham old said...

Thanks for the link, Shaun, again! :)

7/05/2006  
Blogger Brody Harper said...

"The message of Christ is simple. God created man, man brought sin into the world, God destroyed all the people of the earth because they were sinful and beyond repair, the earth was repopulated, a whole bunch of sacrifices were made by man for atonement of his sins, but, they weren't enough to cover man's sin so God sent his own sacrifice for us once and for all. Accept Christ and live or don't accept him and suffer the consequences."

Simple?!!? Are you sure? That sounds far from simple to me. And I suppose we are supposed to just ignore the "complex" things that Jesus does mention in the Bible, but there aren't "simple" answers to?

Brilliant scholars are continuallly learning more about the Bible everyday. But apparently they just don't look at the "simplicity" of Christ's message. Someday I hope to be an "Anonymous" writer who has the entire message of Christ broken down into a run-on sentence, but for now I think I will continue to learn and grow in my faith.

7/06/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then you have missed the entire message.

7/06/2006  
Anonymous maxwedge said...

Brody
"Brilliant scholars are continuallly learning more about the Bible everyday."

There were once "brilliant scholars" who sent Jesus before Pontius Pilate.

I Corinthinans chapter 2 says:
The Jews require a sign and the Greeks seek wisdom.

Our wisdom should come from our relationship with God, and from his word. The message IS simple, just two words: Grace and Mercy. We live under his grace and are redeemed through his mercy. Grace being given something we do not deserve and Mercy not peing punished for what we deserve. Yes it is a simple message. We have gone wrong by trying to fit God into our mold, not by letting him mold us.

7/06/2006  
Blogger Amy said...

I would tend to say simple as well. You needn't be a scholar to be in a love relationship with Jesus.

7/06/2006  
Blogger euphrony said...

The discussion seems to have taken a bit of a turn from Shaun’s original post. As to the simplicity/complexity of the gospel, I would say this: The gospel is for all, from the brilliant scholar to the least mentally capable child or adult; the message of the gospel is simply to love in response to God’s love given to use. The practice of this message is complex beyond the ability of man; our understanding of day to day situations is too limited, and our own weaknesses too great, to allow great practice of this simple message of love. And so we study and we discuss and we disseminate our ideas of what it means to live in love and grace while we constantly strive to learn (not intellectually but in one’s heart) how it is to love. Simple? Yes. Complex? Yes. Impossible for man, but accomplished through Jehovah.

Shaun, this topic seems to be one that few people want to discuss in depth. There’s been little talk on this post and the last one dwindled. Since I was the one who brought up the widow’s giving at the temple in the last discussion, I felt I should reply. And I hope there was no confusion that I was trying to use this example as an argument for tithing. I do not agree completely with what Anabaptist is saying in his post on the widow’s mite, but I would agree that tithing is used as an excuse for some to not give more. To bring up another example, let’s talk at the subject of “Corban” in Mark 7:8-13. What you have here is, I believe, a similar situation to what Anabaptist is railing against. Here you have the Pharisees denying aid to their parents (their own family, not mere strangers) by saying the help he would have given is Corban, a gift dedicated to God. Unsurprisingly, this Corban usually referred to a gift to be bestowed at a later date, while remaining in the givers hands at that moment. So, essentially you have the Pharisees telling their parents that I can’t help you, it’s for God, but I get to use it now. If this is how they treated their own family, how must they have been treating the orphans and widows?

This word against the Pharisees is sandwiched as part of Jesus’ denunciation of tradition and before His exhortation of living from a pure heart. The message on giving is not to give to meet requirements of the law but to give at the prompting of the Spirit. Has the Spirit moved you, in your heart, to help someone? Then, by all means, do so! Has God told you that you need to give – of time, possessions, or cash – to aid a person or a project? Listen to the word of the Lord! Give in love (the simplicity of the gospel) and keep the law of love that sets us free, not the law that binds us to sin.

7/07/2006  
Blogger Brody Harper said...

"Simple? Yes. Complex? Yes. Impossible for man, but accomplished through Jehovah."

perfectly said. impossible for man. we can't begin to comprehend the the things of God. we can grab hold of the simplicity of mercy and grace, but (i don't believe) we will never understand fully the teachings of Christ.

7/08/2006  

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