It’s Not Me! Blame Jesus!

Mark 10:2-16 – The 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for October 7, 2012

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her…” (Mark 10:10)

I am an adulterer and have been since 1984.

In 1979, California provided me with, to use a phrase from Mark’s Gospel, a “certificate of dismissal” from my then wife. The real trouble began five years later when I said I do to my beloved and became, for the second time, a married man.

Adulterer!

Jesus said, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:10-12)

Not much wiggle room, eh?

Would you like to debate homosexuality, child labor, abortion or slavery? With those subjects—and other controversial issues—the abundant presence or stark absence of Biblical verses has and will continue to fuel faith-based debates.

For Christians, what is there to debate about divorce?

A few years after California legalized my adulterous behavior, I memorized Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount” for Easter. Most of my congregation way back then appreciated my efforts. It was likely the singular time when my quirks, doubts or opinions didn’t “adulterate” the sermon.

And yet I irked a few folks. One Easter visitor* jabbed his finger at my chest during the greeting line after worship. He growled, “After what you said about divorce, young man, I’ll never come to this church again. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

By preaching the exact words of the “Sermon on the Mount,” I’d highlighted two of Jesus’ most irksome insights. Continue reading →

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