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50 ways to love your leper?

50 Ways to Leave your Lover

Paul Simon

She said it’s really not my habit
To intrude
Furthermore, I hope my meaning
Won’t be lost or misconstrued
But I’ll repeat myself
At the risk of being crude
There must be fifty ways
To leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover

You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free


Paul Simon (offering his help to Pops, who’s struggling with the lever to the Muppet Theater trapdoor): “I know fifty ways to love your lever.”

Mark 1:40-45 (New Living Translation)

Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy

40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said.41 Moved with compassion,[a] Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. 43 Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: 44 “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy.[b] This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

45 But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him.

ok, so now you have the history to my strange and vaguely offensive title….moving on….

Christians in every denomination across every spectrum cannot very easily deny that Jesus lived a life of sacrifice in service to others. He fully embodied the Kingdom on Earth and did so by getting his hands and feet dirty. He lived a life of love and power and he did so in a very subversive way and then he left with us the Holy Spirit so we can become, as ONE BODY, the continuation of that Kingdom on earth.

When he is accused of carousing with the underbelly of society, it was because he actually WAS INDEED spending time with them, eating with them, drinking with them, sharing his life with them. He touched lepers, he spit in mud, he got his feet dirty and risked his reputation with the religious in order to show God’s endless and unconditional love. He turned water into wine, he ate on the Sabbath, he did not order his disciples to fast as the religious Jews did, and on and on it went.

This life I don’t find so hard to embrace. I prefer the underbelly, the subversionaries, those who don’t really “fit quite right”. I think they’re more interesting, more fun and infinitely more loving and accepting than the homogeneous, pasteurized, cookie cutter, judgmental, isolated conservative evangelicals I’ve been exposed to most of my life.

My lepers are of a different kind. The lepers I am learning to touch and trying to love are those who have a problem with “this Jesus”. They don’t preach about the Jesus with dirty feet and muddy hands and a tainted reputation. It is these people I have a hard time loving. I have a hard time speaking well of self proclaimed righteous Christians with squeaky clean public lives who shelter themselves from anything that would be perceived as unholy. I find it personally offensive when I hear Christians rant and rave about this filthy, unholy nation with its evil horrors corrupting our pristine children. I find it personally offensive when people speak of tattoos and alcohol and smoking and piercings as if they were the horde of hell itself come upon us. I get cranky when I hear rich Christians tell the poor that if they would just pull themselves up by the bootstraps they too could have a million dollar house and an SUV the size of Manhattan.

Unfortunately for me, I am called to love even these. Lord have mercy on me a sinner.

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  1. David — May 25, 2007 #

    That’s awesome.

    And to be even more offensive and way more irrelevant, I need to blog about “50 Ways To Leap Your Lover.”

    But alas, I’ll continue with my “Problems With Communication” which indeed “50 Ways To Leap Your Lover” may be one of them!

    Nice job lover!


  2. sonja — May 26, 2007 #

    Mak … this post has me thinking.

    It has me thinking about how Jesus responded to the rich, fat cat religious folks of his day. He found them personally offensive too. He loved them, but he didn’t spend too much time with them or on them. In fact, he called them “white washed tombs,” and told at least one of them it would be more difficult to “pass a camel through the eye of a needle than for one of them to get into the Kingdom of God.” Another one he told to sell everything and follow him … the young man could not bring himself to do that and Jesus went away sad. He still loved the guy, but J. left him where he was.

    So … I’m going to push back on you a teensy bit … what would loving those folks look like? Does it mean just accepting whatever they say without talking back or revealing yourself? Could it look like something that reveals your Jesus to them? Maybe you could begin planting some seeds …

  3. Mak — May 26, 2007 #

    oh trust me sonja, I’m just working out this love in my heart right now. hehe

    I agree with you completely.

    I’m still working out HOW to “love” the religious pharisees in my world without conceding to them or getting stepped on.

  4. tina — May 26, 2007 #

    I think loving looks different depending on who you are; you know, there’s no system for it. Jesus has to work that in you. I’m not sure, but I think that as long as we have the desire and we keep seeking him, he will do these things in us in his time.

    I just this morning posted something about Jesus’ example to us of being in the midst of the poor. Must be some kind of spiritual meme going around.

  5. Mak — May 26, 2007 #

    I just read that tina, well said.

    I agree of course. you ladies know I’m not about bowing to the religious pharisees ;)

    But their “misbehavior” doesn’t give me an excuse not to act Christ like - ya know?

  6. tina — May 27, 2007 #

    No, I didn’t think that at all! not for a second. I admire you for wanting to love like Jesus does. I hardly ever think about loving the pharisees, but I should. Your post definitely pointed me in that direction.

  7. Richard Harty — May 28, 2007 #

    The more I understand about people who have nothing to lose and due to circumstances of intelligence, resources, and/or weakness face the world stripped of any sense of worth, I can understand why Jesus might prefer to spend time with what we call the underbelly. There can be a lot of dysfunction, but its out in the open.

    If the truth sets one free, then telling a pharisee the truth is loving them. Its painful and destructive to live life with secrets. Its also painful to have those secrets exposed in less than loving communities.

    One can only be in Pharisee community as long as one can keep secrets or sustain the illusion. And that’s only when you care what the other Pharisees think.

    May I be free from the opinions of others and free to embrace my faults, because my dark side might need my embrace more than my “good” side.

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