Written by Kenneth Samuel
"To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure." - Titus 1:15
I grew up in a church where it was of utmost importance to keep the differences between the sacred and the secular very clear.
Sunday the Sabbath allowed no space for house chores, playing sports or cooking (although we could warm the food that had been cooked on Saturday). Women were always to be dressed moderately with no bare shoulders, no dresses above the knees (little girls were exempt) and no makeup, lest the disgraces of Jezebel be invoked. And we couldn't drink root beer because the word beer brought upon the imbiber the appearance of evil.
But the rigid dichotomies of life are not promoted only among the conservative branches of religion. There are many who adhere steadfastly to what they perceive to be the strict separations between intellect and emotion; between spirit and flesh; between mind and body; between male and female; between black and white.
Trying to stay on the right side of rigid divisions can lead to a very disintegrated and duplicitous life.
The Apostle Paul invited Titus to recognize the value of all things—even the things that strict religionists deemed unclean.
Because of Christ, everyone and everything that was lost, defiled and desecrated has been reconciled back to God. Because of Christ, the curtain that separated the holy from the unholy has forever been torn asunder.
The Lenten season is a good time to rethink and to remove the lines of separation that never really existed and to see the face of God in that which we thought was god-forsaken.
God, manifest your presence in all the forbidden places.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.