the Exclusive Church

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.” Mk 7:9-13

This is a story about inclusion. The Pharisees had the “tradition of the elders” which was a body of law to interpret the Torah. Jesus is here attacking the purity and table fellowship codes which promoted exclusivity. They cling to human tradition and ignore God’s word. Jesus is also challenging the economic system of the marketplace where the Pharisees sprinkled the food to make sure it was not impure (e.g. having been seeded on the Sabbath). Jesus also challenges Temple economics by attacking the qorban whereby one could gift one’s property to the Temple. The assets were thus frozen and not available even to help parents in need. The practice disenfranchised parents. In the following section, Jesus will attack exclusive table fellowship. Jesus’ kin-dom is inclusive. All can come to the table. All can come before God without being bound by man-made laws.

Today, Jesus is condemning the Roman Church’s sins against inclusivity. The patriarchal church justly condemns racism; however, structures in the church are still racist and based on white privilege. These need to be dismantled.

The Church’s sins against women run rampant. It clings to tradition. Sexism leads the church to define the tradition of the elders to exclude women from ministry. The church thus nullifies the word of God in favor of the tradition it has “handed on.”

The same can be said for the tradition of celibacy. When the hierarchy revisited the issue of celibacy several years ago, it
was confronted with the fact that some people no longer have Eucharist because they do not have priests. The hierarchy chose the “tradition” of celibacy over provision of Eucharist for millions of priestless people worldwide.

Does the patriarchal hierarchy really read the Scriptures? If so, why don’t they get it?

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