#TreasuresofDarkness, Day 4 Jude 1:12–13

Darkness. Chaos. Mystery. Ignorance. Supernatural events. Distress. The Unknown-with-a-capital-U.

Let’s posit that darkness is shorthand for the things humanity is afraid of. Darkness is a shorthand for the things contained in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And remember, we reached for that tree pretty much the second God turned God’s back.

If we were not afraid of these things that we term darkness, would we still be human? Is that why we created superheroes, because superheroes are not afraid of these things?

I am using the word things repetitively on purpose.

We are human. We are afraid of things. The problem comes when we apply this objectified fear to people.

People are not things.

What did Jude (traditionally believed to either be a brother of Jesus, or a later writer who chose to identify himself with the brother of Jesus), learn from Jesus about the Othered? About the..

Outcast,

The prostitute,

The leper

The Samaritan?

Were these people objectified re-conceptualized as “things,” so the privileged could project their fear of “dark things” onto them?

What have we learned from Jesus about the Othered?

Jude says that heretics are in darkness, and deserve eternal darkness. Conversely, Jesus ate with, healed, and fed outsiders — Jesus didn’t participate in their objectification.

Jesus standing for the oppressed

Jesus is, has always been, large enough for us to depend on as we recognize, confess, and release our deepest fears. Jesus did not come to allow you or me to project my fears onto my fellow humans. Jesus came to redeem us from this sin.

So what it is about protecting the status quo — about affirming ourselves! — that moves us away from identification with our fellow humans and reaching out to them in charity … and moves us toward objectifying, and othering, and projecting the concept of darkness onto them?

Denise Rector is a second-career seminarian attending Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA. She is currently on internship in Milwaukee. She drinks lots of coffee and is very ready for spring training!