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Posts Tagged ‘church and state’

Separation

May 31, 2009 1 comment

I’ve been keeping up with a very intriguing conversation via Facebook with some new friends of ours.  I’ll briefly let you in on the topic.  Last Thursday night there was  a gathering of people discussing the implications of the separation of church and state.  Unfortunately, my wife and I were unable to attend the meeting since we’d had very little sleep the night before.  Needless to say, as you might imagine, the conversation following the originally purposed question about opinions on matters of church and state quickly got intense.  Most of the comments were cordial enough, outside of a couple missiles fired from the “religious” camp.

As my wife and I consider our calling and participation in the reconciliation of this world back to it’s Creator, it got us thinking.  In our minds, the idea of holiness was rolling around in our minds and my wife, out of the blue, asked, “what is the original Greek meaning of the word ‘holy’?”  I dug deep in the recesses of my mind, searching for a definition.  Separation.  Set apart. Both excellent descriptions.  Biblical descriptions at that.  However, we both had a feeling there must be more.  Now, here’s the meat.

note: those of you who are Christians reading this, I am primarily writing to you, because that’s what I know, it has become who I am.  At some point, we are going to have to wake up and smell the roses, or as is most often the case, smell our own hypocrisy.

We (Christians) believe we are called to be a reflection of Christ, a holy people.  Typically, I would have described that charge as relating to piety, or being pious.  As I mentioned before, both the Hebrew (qodesh) and Greek (hagios) have been translated as holy, hallowed, sanctified or sometimes sacred.  More literal translations describe being set apart or separate.  But, get this.  In Hebrew, there is a word used to describe a harlot or whore.  qedeshah. And the male prostitute, or sodomite: qadesh. Both of these words are derivatives of the Hebrew word qodesh.  Now, if that doesn’t throw a wrench in your gears, there’s not hope for you to ever be what God intended for you to be.  For the rest of us, who now realize that we really don’t have anything figured out, think about the implications.

It brings a totally different meaning to the common Christian phrase, “you’ve been bought with a price.”  Spend some time considering what this means for your relationship with God.  But, I want to spend just a moment and go back to the conversation I mentioned above.

Consider this.  How is a whore or a sodomite treated?  How much say does that person have in their relationships?  Now, please don’t start thinking negatively, because it is entirely too easy to do so.  Keep the positive ere please.  If we are to be holy, qedeshah/qadesh, whore, set apart, separate, why in the world do we spend so much time arguing with people about silly things like the separation of church and state?  Why do we as so called Christ followers, resort to violence and oppression (both figuratively and literally) every time we enter into one of these conversations?  The “ultimate love of God” comes across as little more than a judgemental, ugly, I’m-better-than-you-are attitude that in no way pours out the true love God wants his people to experience.  Do we as Christian people honestly think we have the right to say whatever we want?  I vaguely remember scripture saying something about putting aside your “rights…”

I could probably go on and on, but I’ll call it quits and end with this.  As I told my friends just today, I am sorry for the evils we (my Christian brothers and sisters) have cause in the world.  I am sorry that we continue to live blindly in hypocrisy, elevating ourselves above everyone else.

I am a follower of Christ.  I don’t know all the answers.  I’m a hypocrite and a pharisee.  I’m still learning and growing and I thank God each and every day for the grace he pours out on me.  If only I can learn to be so gracious.  Teach me; for the sake of this world…

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