Monday, February 25, 2008

Flashbacks and thanks

They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." (John 4:42, NIV)
Sunday's Gospel reading was the story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman of questionable background at the well.

Two years ago, after visiting Fourth Presbyterian Church and hearing Pastor James Buchanan preach on "the woman at the well," I went home wanting to startle people out of their sensibilities. In 2008, it's getting hard to remember the power of prejudice and cultural barriers. Less than 45 years ago, many white men wouldn't drink out of a drinking fountain if a black man had "tainted it" by drinking from it first. We can't imagine the extreme prejudice that existed between Jews and Samaritans back in Jesus' day.

To kind of bring that truth to light, I went home that afternoon and literally re-wrote the John 4 story as if Jesus were speaking to a Muslim gay waiter in the Boystown neighborhood in modern-day Chicago. I posted the story here, entitled "Just How Shocking Is The Gospel."

Evidently, it worked.

I never had more hits on my blog than I did then. I had a rash of comments - some startlingly angry, some quite supportive. Only one or two were actually of the "fag-lover" category, thankfully. But it sparked an awful lot of discussion. A year later, I followed a Sitemeter link from that post to a women's bible-study blog at a very conservative Bible college in Indiana. I've had responses from all over the world.

This last weekend, a number of people (including my dear friend Michael and the esteemed Maggi Dawn!) have brought fresh attention to the post. It's been fascinating to see where they all have come from.

I continue to be blessed that this writing still blesses others - or at least makes them think! That, in the end, was the whole purpose. Soli Deo gloria.


Kyle said...

Steve, I really got a lot out of that post. I'm glad you reminded us of it too. It's really easy to forget just how radical Jesus' ministry truly was. Thanks for your wisdom.

I went to a Catholic mass for the first time this past Sunday in Findlay. They read this scripture there too. must be the same lectionary? (I really dont know much about that stuff... mennonites don't use a lectionary) Anyway, I guess the first thing I thought of was the hip-hop culture of today. The church seems like it pushes hip-hop boys and girls out because hip-hop seems so evil (and a lot of it really is), but there will be no redemption if we never allow any intervention...

maggi said...

Hi Steve, that was such a great post! Thanks for your blog. Peace, maggi

Keith Brenton said...

Steve, it was a shocking and thought-provoking and heart-wrenching post - I am delighted that your "fifteen minutes of fame" has been extended these years since!

bob said...

Dear Steve

Thank you for re-publishing John 4.
Like many others I am not shocked at all. I have believed for a long time (I wasn't brought up this way) that the story was intended to be a lot more than a story of some woman at a well. It is the story of all of us. We should all write the story for our own lives because that's exactly what God intended. My sins may be different than your (or anybody elses') sin but sin is sin to the Father. The amazing part to me is that the church teaches it is our performance that makes us Christian but the Bible teaches that it is what Jesus did on the Cross that makes us righteous.
I would humbly ask that you look at some of the favourite books I have listed on my blogsite and, if the Spirit prompts you, read some of them. I believe from what you have written that some of these books would be something you would want to read (only if the Spirit prompts).

Never thirsty

Michael said...

We are called to Love One Another. Not To Judge One Another. That Is God's Job and I Do Not Want His Job.

Michael <>< <>< <><