Beth Moore’s Letter & the RESV Matthew 25 Paraphrase

I have written before concerning not being the biggest fan of Beth Moore’s groupies. While I may not be real happy with the manner in which some people aggrandize her I have nothing but respect for Moore herself. I may not connect with her studies but I admire the way she seems to live out her faith in purity in spite of being a big deal. Many people who reach her status don’t seem able to do this. Beth Moore does and I greatly respect that.

Yesterday Moore posted this open letter on her blog concerning the  misogyny that she has faced as a female leader in a conservative, evangelical denomination and community of speakers.

First, it saddens me, but unfortunately doesn’t surprise me, that she has faced such behavior. She shouldn’t have to face this anywhere, let alone in the company of people who profess to follow the One Whose first witnesses (and thereby evangelists) of His resurrection were women.

Secondly, I appreciate her adding this paragraph to her open letter:

The irony is that many of the men who will give consideration to my concerns do not possess a whit of the misogyny coming under the spotlight. For all the times you’ve spoken up on our behalf and for the compassion you’ve shown in response to “Me too,” please know you have won our love and gratitude and respect.

I hope that I have acted in such a manner that the women whose lives I am a part of could and would say the same concerning my behavior. I hope I have acted in a manner that my wife, mom, sister-in-laws, female friends, and the women for whom I have been their minister and chaplain would describe me as being someone who has stood up with them and for them.

Which brings me to the point of my post.

In the small group of people that Pam and I meet with each week to discuss life and faith we are presently reading through Richard Stearns’ modern classic “The Hole in Our Gospel“. During our Wednesday gathering we discussed what we had read in chapters 4 and 5 of this great book. In chapter four Stearns created his own paraphrase of the King’s words in the parable of the Sheep & the goats in the 25th chapter of Matthew. Stearns paraphrased as follows:

For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved. (RESV—Richard E. Stearns Version)

I love this paraphrase. In light of the awareness of what has been brought to the nation’s and church’s attention through the MeToo movement I would like to add a small addition to Stearns’s paraphrased. Here’s my addendum.

I was harassed and abused because of my gender and not only did you not stand up for me and fight against such behavior with me, but you had the audacity to choose to believe and protect my abuser instead.

Some of us may have acted like sheep in regard to those who are hungry, thirsty, nude, sick and/or in prison (and some haven’t) but may have been real goats when it comes to sexual harassment. Those of us who claim to follow Christ proclaim as Lord the One Who began His public ministry in Nazareth by quoting a passage concerning the year of Jubilee. He quoted Isaiah 61.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

When the King separates the sheep and the goats I fear that some of us are going to regret siding so often with the oppressors, rather than the oppressed. Sheep set the oppressed free because they follow a Shepherd who does so. Goats side with the oppressors. Be a sheep.1

  1. On an entirely different note this parable is why it bothers me so much when I sometimes hear Christians describe those with whom they disagree as being “sheeple” and mindlessly following their opponents ideology. Being compared to sheep should never be an insult for Christians. []

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