Pastor’s Viewpoint: 3-18-17
Mary Ella and I were married on March 17, 1968 and graduated from college in June of 1968. Next year, we’ll have been married 50 years! So, it seems a particularly bad time to talk about “adultery,” but that’s the Scripture this week.
I looked it up in the dictionary, one of the best Bible study tools available and one of the easiest to use. Adultery comes from the 6th Century Latin “adulterat,” meaning “corrupted” or “not pure” or “not genuine.” But the dictionary short-changes the word when it only talks about physical intimacy; adultery is anything that “corrupts” the relationship between a husband and wife. It might be work, or recreation, or a thousand other things… if it comes before or between a husband and wife, it’s adultery.
“At dawn (Jesus) appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?””
“They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”” (John 8:1-11)
The first question I had was, “Where was the man?” And the second question was, “How can we guard against adultery… of all kinds?” Dr. Donald Joy, my Christian education professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, wrote a book about “Bonding.” He laid out twelve steps in a relationship leading to a solid, stable bond between a husband and wife… skipping any of the steps weakens the bond.
The twelve steps begin with 1) eye to body, 2) eye to eye, 3) voice to voice, 4) hand to hand, 5) arm to shoulder, 6) hand to waist… the key is patience and getting to know the person you think you love, until you really love them!
Pastor’s viewpoint is written by Charles ‘Buddy’ Whatley, a retired United Methodist pastor serving Woodland-Bold Springs UMC and, with Mary Ella, a missionary to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.