Entry: Who gets to forgive what? Feb 9, 2004

Last night we sat around and read through Matthew 18. The teaching gospel, the gospels of parables. We looked at church discipline and the minister Johan spoke about how when he was young, teenage girls who fell pregnant out of wedlock (his choice of words) were made to stand in the centre of the room and rebuked by a circle of dominees and elders. No Christ figure there to scratch out cryptic messages in the dust.

We mustnít do that sort of thing any longer, said Johan. I think he meant that it is unkind and likely to drive young women away from the church. No consciousness of coercive sexual implications, sexism, the question of the man who made the young woman pregnant, her lack of choices and resources in a small 1960s South African dorp. He still sees fornication as a sin. And uses those words. He still holds young women responsible, even if they have been raped. Women tempt men. Women need to learn to say no.

What happens when we donít know what we are called to forgive? Who gets to forgive what?


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