Peter, Paul, James and the Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger®

October 5, 2015


Let's imagine for a moment that the Apostles Peter, Paul and James are gathered together in Jerusalem. Paul has just finished participating in a Temple ritual with four men from the Jerusalem congregation, and afterwards, Peter and James meet with him, congratulating and thanking him for his participation.

On their way back to the Upper Room, they pass a Ya'akov BaTevah (Jack in the Box).  What with the New Covenant having been in effect for about 20 years already, wouldn't all that kosher stuff be kind of passé by now? Couldn't they just stop off for a Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe?

In the next few blogs we will deal with this pressing issue: Would Peter, Paul, and James eat the Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger®?

For a little background, consider the following passage from Leviticus:

And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the hare, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you. (Leviticus 11:1-8 ESV)

Five times in the passage we read it (or they) is/are unclean to you. Of course, one of those listed forbidden foods is pig, from which one gets the bacon on the Ya'akov BaTevah Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger®. The passage says that the pig "is unclean to you."

1.  Here's the first big question for today: What makes pigs to be ritually unclean?  Choose One:

  • They eat all kinds of dirty stuff
  • They wallow around in mud all the time
  • They're just icky, you know?
  • You could get trichinosis from eating them
  • God says don't eat it, don't even touch it

2. And the second big question for today is this: for whom is are pigs unclean? Choose One.

  • Republicans
  • Democrats
  • Independents
  • Donald Trump
  • Rachael Maddow
  • The New York Yankees
  • The Boston Red Sox
  • Everyone
  • Jews

If you were following well, and doing some good thinking, you will have learned today

  1. That what makes pig flesh to be unclean is that God says so.
  2. You will  realize that this proviso is for Jews, not for everybody. The Pope could have a ham sandwich and God could speak from heaven and say, "Enjoy!"
  3. You will know that the text is not teaching that there is anything intrinsically unclean about eating and touching pig. It is only unclean for Jews, and because God says so.
  4. And since Peter, Paul and James were Jews, they should therefore not have touched or eaten the Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger® . . . to which some will respond, "Yeah, but this is the New Covenant. All Kosher bets are off!" We'll get to that later. Be patient.

If this lesson contradicts what you prefer to believe, please feel free to comment. Also feel free to donate sacrificially to Interfaithfulness. We could use the money even more than we could use the comments.

Until next time, SHALOM!


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