Ruth part2

August 7, 2008 at 1:59 pm 1 comment

I have been thinking about Ruth lately (see previous post), and somehow I feel like I haven’t done her part of the story justice. Maybe it was spending last week at the fair and knowing how it feels to be an outsider. Maybe I am projecting my thoughts onto her story, but I figure her life was rather hard. I can picture her as a young girl of 14 or 15 (maybe even younger) being handed to a man and his family with there being very little in common.

One day she is obeying her father and worshiping their gods and the next day she is to leave those gods behind. She is to worship the God of Israel and to put away all of her beliefs. Now I expect that in time she learned about God and came to know him, but just imagine those first few days. Was she mocked or talked about whenever she went to the well? Did old friends reject her for being married to a foreigner? I bet she had to endure a lot of stares and whispers behind her back. And what about the fertility practices that were common in Moab? I’m sure Naomi and her sons would not allow her to participate in pagan rituals, so what did the people say? Was she a stranger in her own home town?

As a gay woman, I can relate to Ruth and all that she had to go through. I am in no way saying that Ruth was gay, although I have read many articles that argue that fact. And truth be told, it is irrelevant, at least to me. What I relate to is the isolation, the leaving old thoughts and beliefs behind. The loneliness of being “different”. I relate to having to re-learn everything that I once thought I knew. Ruth, surely she had many nights of crying out and pleading, “show me what is truth.” Was it the gods of her childhood or the God of her adulthood?

Was it the God of my childhood who condemned gay people to hell while letting a pedophile preach in his pulpit? Was it the God of my childhood who was ashamed every time I made a mistake? Was it the God who condemned and hated me or was it the God that I have come to know? Picture Ruth who had a chance to glimpse a God that didn’t require human sacrifices or fertility rites. A God that loved no matter the station in life. I think a God of love would be easier to accept than the gods she grew up with. But yet she had to put aside the familiar to grab onto the God of Israel.

That is why I think she went, for the chance to worship a God that was loving and fair. She went knowing she was giving up everything she knew. I had to give up almost everything I was taught about God and the way to live my life. So I find a kindred spirit in Ruth. She was willing to look beyond what she was taught to find God on her own. And in her sacrifice, she found great favor with the Lord. At least the king of Israel came from her.

Another good point was made in the comment from last time. I’m sure a lot of the Jewish widows gleaning in the field weren’t too crazy having a foreigner in their midst and then to have Boaz single her out for generosity? I bet Ruth faced a lot of grumbling and dark looks, just like a lot of us has to face every week in our own house of worship. I bet there were those who said that she could never claim their God because she wasn’t born into the family. Just like a lot of people claim that I can not be a child of God and a Christian because of my orientation.

But yet, God used a foreign woman born into a society that didn’t believe in him and didn’t worship him, to be the grandmother of King David. He used a person that people looked down upon as being less than they were, a person that some wouldn’t believe could be called by God, and one who didn’t fit into the “society norm”. I believe God can and does the same today.

Society, at least the vocal society, believes that I can not be gay and Christian. Some have even gone so far to say that I am deceived by the devil and I am condemned, and that my beliefs are not valid because they go against their own. But maybe, just maybe, God can and does call upon his gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and whatever else you may want to add, children. Maybe we are like Ruth being a minority in a strange land, but she was never alone. God was with her and I truly believe that God is with all who call upon him.

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Entry filed under: family, God, homosexuality, stories. Tags: , , , .

Ruth Siblings

1 Comment Add your own

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