Jesus against Hillel on Usury

I would argue that the best summation of Christian ethics is found in the sermon on the plain in Luke 6:20–49. What I love about the sermon on the plain is just how radical it seems on the surface, it seems almost impossible; however, when you think about what it’s saying, and think about it deeply—it makes sense. Probably my favorite example of this is found in Luke 6:34–35 (NRSV):

If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

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Jesus against Hillel on Usury

The Sin of Sodom – part 1

The question of why Sodom and Gomorrah got destroyed is a question that has been brought to the public sphere in the debate going on within Christian circles about homosexuality. There are a few stances, one being the punishment was about the treatment of strangers, the poor, or some other group, another stance is that the punishment was about sexual sin, another that it was about rape, and there are other stances that combine the causes for punishment or add some other cause. We all know the story, but let’s look at the beginning of the story in Exodus 18 (using the NRSV):

 20 Then the Lord said, ‘How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! 21 I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.’

Continue reading “The Sin of Sodom – part 1”

The Sin of Sodom – part 1