Are you brain-dead? I'm not going in there with a Jedi!

In our interpretation of Scripture it is vital that we recognize cultural expressions and modes of behavior the authors engaged in and were familiar with, as that understanding gives shape and force to their words which modern English idioms and usages many times do not; “adoption” (huiothesia) and “brothers” (adelphoi) are two which have heightened impact when the implications of their first century definitions are applied. To know intellectually that we are a part of God’s household is a fact we may affirm without a profound reshapening of the dimensions of our hearts; our affections may not be stimulated to the proper degree or direction if we do not examine the legal realities brought into being by the Roman system of adoption or understand the freedoms, inheritance, and change of status the term denotes. In like manner, the discussion of head coverings in 1 Corinthians 11 is informed by a study of the cultural background of the practice, and we can rightly conclude in light of this that the practice in and of itself is not systematized for believers but rather that the spirit which occasioned the practice (itself a cultural expression brought into existence by a number of other contributing factors particular to that culture) is to be continued. So ladies, you can put the bonnet back in the closet (unless you just really like your bonnet, in which case I should probably just stop talking about them*).

The holy kiss is another such practice. I’m all for that one staying discontinued, but Henry doesn’t seem to share the vibe- he’s surfing another wave altogether.

In all fairness, I egged him on, but in no way did I think he would so eagerly accept my challenge and lay one on my cheek. I believe I saw a streak of pride in his flagrant disregard for contemporary social mores (or maybe I only saw the childishness of my outburst, “I dare you, Henry!”), but I know for a fact that my heart seized in sudden, icy terror when I saw him rush my way, puckering up, and then I was en philemati hagio‘ed into the dark corridors of oblivion.

I’d offer some sort of explanation for you why this incident took place Sunday afternoon, but I honestly can’t remember.** Truth be told, this episode has many parallels with alleged alien abduction cases- I clearly remember seeing a vaguely humanoid figure, feeling paralyzed, and then coming to in a completely different location with only a fuzzy recollection of what had just transpired (in this case, the couch in Jeremy and Anouk’s living room with The Phantom Menace going***). The first century church would have had no problem with this, I’m sure (given Paul’s urging to “greet one another with a holy kiss”), but it still strikes me as a little bizarre.****

Henry- touche. The Laurel Wreath of Audacity is yours. You earned it.

*I know you’re out there.
**I mean, aside from the obvious immaturity on both our parts. Besides that, I just don’t know.
***…which only served to make it even more disorienting.
****Consider the source though, eh?

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