Then the word of God came to him: “So, Elijah, what are you doing here?”
This week’s episode of Elijah is interesting to me because we see God playing dumb, asking a question God knows the answer to: Nu, Elijah, vus machts du? (Yiddish, literally “So, Elijah, what are you doing?”, but figuratively, “Hey, Elijah, how’s it going?/what’s up?”). And Elijah gives God a straight answer, and God says, rather obliquely, “Hey, watch this!” and puts on a big show, and then asks again, “So, Elijah, what are you doing?”.
And Elijah’s mind has not changed. Elijah answers in the same words. It reminds me of a Buffy episode called “Doppelgängland” where evil-Willow is torturing someone: “Who do you work for?”, she asks repeatedly, breaking fingers until she gets an answer she likes.
And then God says “Oh, you’re working alone? How’s that working out for you? Okay, I tell you what you should do. Recruit some mass-murderers and make sure they work as a team, and then go hire your own replacement, and then I’ll allow you to die.”
This week we’re seeing an Old Testament God who practices statecraft-by-killing. But when we get to the New Testament portion, Galatians 3:23-29, things change. This passage seems to say: the Old Testament law was like the childhood of humanity, like training wheels or a small classroom with individual attention. I see it as God’s childhood, back when God thought that effective leadership means throwing a conniption, pitting one group of humans against another, and killing all but 7,000 hand-picked survivors.
Finally, at the end of the Galatians passage, God starts making sense to me, saying that we should talk to one another directly, and we don’t need to split people up into arbitrary categories like “male” and “female”. Frankly, I appreciate a God who likes to SMASH GENDER BINARY into GENDERQUEER DEBRIS. I’ve never understood why some Christian organizations make distinctions between men and women. After all, at the very beginning of the Bible, we read: “God created people in God’s image: male and female God created them.”