About Ethical Responsibility

Image - painting of Ruth

“Adorned with virtues as Ruth”
By AlejandroLinaresGarcia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“Doing what the Bible says” does not simply do away with the need to decide among values – including Biblical ones.

This was in the reading for yesterday in my daily lectionary:

On that day they read from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people; and in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, because they did not meet the Israelites with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them – yet our God turned the curse into a blessing. When the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent. (Nehemiah 13:1-3 NRSV)

The New Living translation is even starker: “… all those of foreign descent were immediately excluded from the assembly.” Maybe that’s why I noticed it.

This was in the reading for May 6:

Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have acquired from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, to be my wife … So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Holy One made her conceive, and she bore a son. … They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David. (Ruth 4:9, 10, 13, 17 NRSV)

“Alia sunt tempora, alii mores (Different times, different customs)?”* It’s hardly new information, just a reminder. As one of my teachers said, “There’s a lot in the Bible. You have to make a choice.”

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About HAT

Heather Thiessen (HAT) is a happily married 60-ish, Bible-reading, Presbyterian Church Sunday School teaching and choir singing, small fuel efficient car driving, still pretty much 2nd wave feminist and generally out lesbian Hoosier mom. (There are no monochrome states.) From time to time she teaches religious studies to students at a small liberal arts college in Louisville, Kentucky.
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