I preached on the parable of the wheat and the weeds last Sunday, noting that the central lessons are that 1) we should not judge prematurely, as we will be too inaccurate, destroying good wheat along with the weeds, and 2) God himself indicates he will supervise the judging at the end. My particular focus I mention in passing, that the agricultural story provides a mirror for the human desire to judge. Wheat-growing in the Levant was not monoculture, and a particular weed named darnel looks a lot like wheat. Therefore, weeding could be destructive if didn’t know what you were doing. Similarly, human beings have narratives about each other and the various groups we belong to, and the power of a narrative is such that we will see people inaccurately, and judge them wrongly. This is especially true if we judge too quickly.
A friend asked after service – an actual meatware friend, not the virtual variety – how do we reconcile this with John the Baptist condemning Herod, or St. Paul’s declaration that the church should separate from the man who married his mother-in-law? We are to judge, but not judge? What is the distinction we are supposed to see here? What if Gene Robinson asks to preach here? What do we do with that?
First answer: I don’t know. Great question.
Second answer: Further evidence that our preference for easy rules rather than reliance on the Holy Spirit is simplistic.
Third answer: I think there is some importance in not seeking to judge or kick folks out, but perhaps the situation changes when it is thrust upon you and judgment cannot be put off further.
Additional answers entertained gladly.