Today, many fishermen along the Gulf are sitting home rather than plying the sea in search of shrimp due to the BP-induced oil slick which is devastating the livelihood of these fishermen. That scenario is yet to play out in the days and months ahead, but I’d rather focus just on ‘shellfish’ themselves.
Shellfish are mentioned in the Bible. Oh, not harvesting them, but the eating them- or rather, the not eating of them. Shellfish are labeled an ‘abomination to God.’ Curious concept, eh? If God made all of the creatures of the land, sea and sky, why would the eating of that be offensive to the Creator? That lunacy is one of many detailed in the Bible- the category is ‘abominations.’
Leviticus is the book of the Bible that lists the do’s and don’ts. The writers of this book apparently had a tin can/string telephone directly to God who dictated word-for-word what is sinful and what is not sinful and the writers dutifully listed these as abominations.
Here’s a scientifically confusing one: Leviticus 11:20 “All winged insects that go upon all fours are an abomination to you.” Four-footed insects? Apparently they slept through freshman biology in high school.
A few weeks ago, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Maumee Ohio voted to withdraw from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over its new policy on the ordination of gay and lesbian persons [one of the ‘abominations’ in the Bible.] A large majority of the members of St. Paul’s felt that the ELCA was interpreting scripture erroneously- the ‘abomination’ of homosexuality to be exact.
Shellfish, 4-legged winged insects and gays are on the list. Deuteronomy, that other tin can/string to God goes further: “You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep in which is a blemish, any defect whatever; for that is an abomination to the LORD.” Warning: be sure to check your ox or sheep for blemishes before you slaughter and burn it.
Ezekiel is rather harsh on this abomination topic and says, “If he begets a son who is a robber, a shedder of blood, who does none of these duties, but eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination.” Sorry, parents, it’s all your fault for your deviant son.
Sixty-seven times that the word “abomination” is used in the Bible; twice in the new Testament. Two refer to homosexuality. Jesus uses the word only once in Luke- “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is an abomination in the sight of God.”
Martin Otto Zimmann [Lutheran pastor] wrote a letter to the editor of the Toledo Blade today on this topic. He referred to an earlier letter printed in The Blade:
“The letter about St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Maumee stated: “Any pastor who is blatantly sinful and plans to continue in that sinful lifestyle does not merit being ordained.”
The statement was in defense of the congregation’s decision to split from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over its new policy on the ordination of gay and lesbian persons who feel called to serve in the ordained ministry and are also in monogamous relationships.
In Martin Luther’s “Sacristy Prayer,” he admits: “I am, indeed, unworthy of the office and ministry in which I am to make known Thy glory and to nurture and serve this congregation.” My grandfather, who was a Lutheran pastor, hung this in his office as a daily reminder that none of us clergy-types merits ordination.
If gay and lesbian people are sinful by virtue of their natural orientation, then their souls are no more sullied than the rest of us heterosexual folk who are in constant need of repentance and forgiveness.”
Perhaps this is exactly what Jesus intended in his one and only use of the word, abomination.
Linda A. Malcor wrote an interesting article that she called, Putting Abominations in Perspective. Dr. Malcor is an ordained elder and deacon in the Presbyterian Church. She writes:
Reading through this list, two things strike me. The first is that many of the items pertain to someone pretending to be something he or she is not. Yet that is exactly what so many literalists ask gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people to do by insisting that such folks remain in the closet. The second is that the very people who scream the loudest about two passages in Leviticus are themselves in violation of several verses that would render them “abominations.”
Dr. Malcor goes on:
Proverbs 6:16-19 “There are six things which the LORD hates, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers.” I can think of few other things that have caused more discord in our society, in our families and in our households than has the insistence on the literal reading of one passage from Leviticus.”
Exactly so. Martin Zimmann concludes his letter:
I think the purpose of God’s kingdom is not defined by whom we exclude, but by our ability to welcome and celebrate the diversity of God’s creation.
As for the clergy, nary a pulpit would be filled if only those who merited ordination were to apply.
Any pastor who thinks otherwise is a hypocrite and a scandal waiting to happen.