Thus does Leviticus put all hairdressers out of business: Chapter 19 Verse 27. And of course there is much worse in there, as Richard Dawkins is currently pointing out on TV, but also as Bishop John Shelby Spong has equally pointed out in The Sins of Scripture; but it is, as I said here last week, a mixed bag, Leviticus. Perhaps we, with our capitalist society, our current workplace laws, and our treatment of asylum seekers, might do worse than take note of other verses in the same chapter.
9: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field to its very border, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest.
10: And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.
11: “You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another…
13: “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.
14: You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
15: “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.
16: You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand forth against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD…
32: “You shall rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
33: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.
34: The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
35: “You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity.
36: You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”
So I am a shameless cherry-picker, not only from the Bible but from other philosophies and traditions as well. Rather like a Quaker or a Buddhist, I see the Spirit of God anywhere and everywhere, but nowhere exclusively, whatever fundamentalists may like to believe. Or I could be more pretentious and say I am postmodern, a spiritual flaneur. Nothing wrong with that either; I refuse to be bullied into the certainties of others, even those of Dawkins.
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