Gospel of John #11: verse: John 1:11. The theme is the theology of the light-worker who suffers rejection by the mainstream.
How do we establish our identity as a group without making an enemy of non-conformists?
In Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson recounts the sexual awakening of Jeanette within a fervent evangelical church in northern England. Demonized by the community, Jeanette is subjected to an exorcism because of her putative sin: same-sex love.
Exorcisms are sometimes justified in terms of ethical dualism. What is good must banish what is evil. John’s Gospel works with such metaphysical dualism.
Light is good. Light banishes darkness.
If the so-called “evil” (the sin, darkness) is actually not evil at all — but rather good (e.g. a kind of love) –, however, then the exorcism turns upside down.
A religious authority (such as an exorcist), in claiming the good light, in fact brims with punitive intent, inasmuch as s/he punishes the good as if it were evil. This malice may be fabricated by projections of his/her own shadow of fear. The accused becomes a light-bearer, in truth.
The Gospel of John articulates a theology for lightworkers. The light-bearer often suffers rejection, even at the hands of religion (hence, the crucifixion): 1:11: “He [the light-bearer] came to his own, and his own people did not accept him.” The light is love itself, for “whoever walks in love lives in the light.” 1 John 2:10
Even though John’s Gospel contains no exorcisms, his theology of the light entails an admonition, pertinent to the kind of exorcism (demonizing) that is portrayed by Winterson in the context of a provincial evangelical church.
Anyone who tries to expunge another’s flourishing love (such as the zealous and misled exorcist) hides from the light. For John, the light exposes hearts (3:19-21). Good people gravitate toward the light, while evil-doers hide from the same, for fear of being exposed.
Misbegotten exorcisms may be Satan’s ingenious tactic: convince legal and moral authorities (churches, law-givers) that certain manifestations of love (i.e. same-sex) amount to evil, and that their perpetrators are demon-infested, in need of purification. Next, invent a ritual for expelling the so-called pollutant.
Jesus himself was accused of being demon-possessed. His family, thinking him mad, urged exorcism. In this context, Jesus remarked: (Mark 3:23-24) “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
Satan means adversary or one who opposes or hinders; deception is his weapon. Satan maligns the light (i.e. acts of goodness and love), falsely in the name of the light. The one who falsely claims to be in league with the light turns to attack the light-bearer–hence betraying that he is divided against himself.
Goodness has the last word, however, according to the Gospel story. For to expunge the light would be to kill Life itself, which is indomitable (hence, the resurrection).
PS: This issue remains controversial for some, while for others it will be non-controversial.
PPS: If you believe this is a non-issue: Christian Mommy Blogger Marries Female Athlete
Choose Light. Choose Love. Choose Life.