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.