Sodom, Toronto and the Ford Brothers
You don’t generally meet a customs official who makes you laugh out loud. But I did the other night returning from a conference in Indianapolis.
The Canadian customs official asked me what the conference was about.
“Community development,” I replied.
“You should have taken Doug Ford,” the officer quipped as he handed back my passport.
I roared with laughter and told him that he had made my night.
Doug Ford. The brother, side-kick and spokesman for Rob Ford, the Mayor of Toronto.
I should have taken Doug Ford to a conference on community development because it would seem pretty apparent that neither he nor his brother know anything about community development. Indeed, it almost seems as if anything that would benefit the community but restrain in any way the freedom of individuals (especially car-driving individuals) or require that individuals have a responsibility to community development that would require any kind of taxation for the common good, is all simply outside of the worldview of these leaders of the good city, Toronto.
Now I don’t want to make a quick and cheap analogy between Sodom and Toronto. And I certainly don’t want to make any such parallel on the backs of the gay community – something that fundamentalist Christians continue to do.
But if you allow Ezekiel to interpret Genesis, then the parallels between our prosperous late modern city and the depravity of that ancient city are clear enough.
Here is what Ezekiel says about the sin of Sodom: “she and her daughters had pride, excess of good food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” (16.49)
They had excess of good food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and the needy. Sure sounds to me like the Toronto that the Ford brothers are imagining.
Ours is a city of incredible prosperity, yet we have a growing homeless population and an administration that seems hell-bent on selling off the little and inadequate affordable housing stock that we have. Ours is a city of rich food, wonderful farmers’ markets and world class restaurants, yet the poorest of our neighbours depend on food banks and soup kitchens for their daily bread.
Sodom’s sin was fundamentally one of injustice and a failure to offer hospitality and protection to strangers in its midst. That’s the heart of the sexual violence in the story! The issue isn’t homosexuality, but humiliating and dehumanizing rape!
Lot offers his daughters as a sacrifice to appease the crowds.
I don’t know, sometimes it seems to me that the present administration in City Hall offers the poor, the elderly, and the very air that we breath as a sacrifice to appease the crowds that demand lower taxes. Such sacrifices are necessary in service of an ideology of vacuous individualism that knows nothing of justice, hospitality and the common good.
At Wine Before Breakfast we have already seen that we live in Babylon but have our eyes on the New Jerusalem. Now we need to see that we live in Sodom. Indeed, we are Sodom. So what does God say to us? Get the hell out of there? Or seek the peace of the city?
This week, our pastoral intern, Chris D’Angelo, is preaching.
David Julien returns (from being away too long!!) to celebrate the Eucharist with us.
Stephen Edwards will lead us with some profound prayers.
And the Bandhood of all Believers mixes a little Ben Folds and Derek Webb with some classic hymnody.
Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday, October 18 @ 7.22am
Wycliffe College Chapel
Breakfast to follow
Again, all Sodomites welcome.
CRC Campus Minister