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Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!
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Tuesday, July 7

Today’s Readings: Psalm 107:1-22; 1 Samuel 25:23-44; Mark 1:35-45; Ephesians 1:16-23; Psalm 107:23-43

Whenever I hear a religious extremist talk about family values, I can’t help but smile. I smile because I can’t help wonder if they understand the claims they are making. Let me use one issue as an example. There are those who oppose same-gender marriage by stating that the creation story in Genesis 2 says, “Therefore, a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh.” They use the passage to conclude: “That’s the way it always was, and that’s the way it always should be!” There’s just one problem with such an argument. That’s not the model that was used in significant portions of the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament. Take today’s story from 1 Samuel 25:23-44 – the passage that tells the story of David and Abigail. The couple’s story culminated when Abigail’s husband died suddenly of a heart attack. David immediately sent for Abigail so that they could become husband and wife. Now according to the extremists, that’s where the story should have ended. One man marrying one woman. But it doesn’t. The story continues in 1 Samuel 25:43 where we are told, “David also married Ahinoam of Jezreel. Both women were his wives.” Hmmm... What are we to make of all this? Well, one thing I make of this is that the sacred texts of our faith are much more complex than the extremists would have us believe. The beloved stories of our faith are often told in ways that reveal the cultural values of the times in which they were embedded – values that evolved over time. So what does that mean for our spiritual lives today? Does it mean we have to abandon the beloved stories of our faith? Absolutely not! The primary lesson I take from all of this is that we should never oversimplify our faith. Instead, we should honor our faith by acknowledging its wonderfully challenging complexities. Perhaps there is an area of your faith that you have oversimplified: an area in which you have become overly rigid or dogmatic. If that’s the case, today ask for the guidance of the Spirit as you begin to open yourself to the possibility that there might be more there than you first thought. Til next time…

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