Monday, December 15, 2008

Throwing Shoes

I may be off base here. Nevertheless, when I heard the news report of the Iraqi reporter who threw his shoes at President Bush and the -- initially unbeknownst to us -- terrible insult that action conveyed, what came to mind was Jesus' sending of the apostles in the first part of Matthew 10. In particular, this:
As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
Might not throwing a show be symbolic of shaking off the dust from one's feet? I do know that Pr. Harry Wendt's excellent Crossways courses teach us to read Jesus' parables and other Biblical stories being attentive to Middle Eastern customs and attitudes, which have not changed all that much since Bible times. Seems to me that we can read this the other way, too--look in the Scriptures to get a better idea of a Middle Eastern culture about which even our nation's "experts" seem to be clueless.

I know of pastors who, having been terribly abused by their congregations (that happens way too often) who finally leave that parish under awful circumstances, leave a pair of shoes in the parsonage as their final message to that community.

Anyway, given that this reporter is being raised up in Iraq as a folk hero of some sort, one way the United States could respond to this grave insult would be to bring our soldiers home, packing everything with them -- leaving all their shoes in that land as they depart.


revalkorn said...

The day I left the town where the Board of Elders forced me out, I wore my sandals, and as we drove out of town I removed my sandals and shook them out the window. I'm glad there wasn't a police officer around.

William Weedon said...

I was thinking of the shoe ritual if the Leverite marriage was refused by a brother....

Anonymous said...

When I left Luther Seminary for my first call, I stopped in the middle of the street by the campus center, got out of my car, removed my shoes, shook them, shook my feet, got back in and drove away. It was amazingly freeing. And I was astonishingly prayerful about the whole thing. While I still pray for this seminary,and all our seminaries and students, I had been ill-used to the point where I simply *had* to do this.