Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This little piggy...

The Swine Flu epidemic is causing more problems than just medical ones. In Israel, there are some people who will be referring to it as Mexican Flu so as not to pronounce the word swine, as pork is forbidden for Jews to eat. "We will use the term Mexican flu in order not to have to pronounce the word swine," said Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman of the ultra-religious United Torah Judaism party.

While this is excessive, as the commandment is against eating pork (Leviticus 11:7), and I know of nothing that is forbidden to pronounce except the names foreign deities (Exodus 23:13; Joshua 23:7), as well as God’s four letter name not being pronounced so as not to take it in vain (Exodus 20:7), it made me think once again how little Christians typically know about any of these laws.
I made the comment to someone at church that I found it odd that Christians have pretty much adopted ham as the traditional Easter meal even though it is a food Jesus himself would never have eaten. She said she’d never thought of that. And isn’t that how it often is? We go to church, fill in the blanks in the sermon outline that tell us what to think and believe, and don’t really give much thought to any of it. We talk about having a “personal relationship with Jesus” yet do not put in any effort to finding out much about him or how he lived. I wonder what he thinks of that. Doesn’t it seem superficial? Can you imagine having a “personal relationship” with your spouse or parents or children yet knowing nothing about their likes or dislikes or thoughts or feelings?
Christians tend to think that because these laws are in the “Old” Testament, they are outdated or not in use or they simply don’t know much about them or think about them. While I do not think Christians are required to abide by them, it can be beneficial to us to learn about them so as to understand more about things Jesus said and did. When we read that he blessed bread, we can know what he actually said. When they “sang the hymn” at the Last Supper, we can know that it was Psalms 113-118. Knowing these things about Jesus is enriching, yet we’re often too busy to learn. Why does the historical Jesus matter, we ask, when all we really seem to care about is what he can do for us here and now. It matters a lot, and I would encourage more Christians to take the time to learn .
So we may laugh or roll our eyes at the excessive nature of changing the name of the flu from Swine to Mexican, but at the same time, we are excessive on the other end, in that we don’t think about things like this at all.


FashionAddict said...

That's a really good point about the Easter ham. Although I would label myself a Christian, I feel like Christians, Jews, Buddists, Muslims, etc. are all searching for good and all believe that there is a higher purpose to life than just "the self." I just don't see that we are all that different so why do we fight?

Kelly said...

We fight because we all think we know everything there is to know about everything that God does. We can't seem to accept that no matter what, there is still mystery involved in Him. While we do have different theologies (and different theologies even within those religions), it would be nice if people would discuss issues instead of writing the "other" off as completely wrong.